Theit News [Archives:2008/1127/Local News]

February 7 2008

– U.S launches two youth programs

The U.S. Embassy in Yemen announced the opening of the Near East and South Asia Undergraduate Exchange program for the academic year 2008-2009, as well as the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Program for the summer of 2008.

The application delaine for both programs is March 3, 2008. Applications are accepted via fax (755-2282), email to: [email protected], or by hard copy to be dropped off at the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a.

The undergraduate exchange program is supported by the US State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and provides opportunities for first-, second- and third-year undergraduate students, as well as students in their final year of secondary school, from the Middle East, North Africa and the South Asia for one semester or one academic year of full-time, non-degree study in the United States.

The MEPI Student Leaders Program is designed for undergraduate student leaders between the ages of 18 and 22 from the Middle East and North Africa. The Student Leaders will participate in a six-week program at a US university, to begin on June 30, 2008. The program consists of leadership training, community service, educational travel, and follow-up activities. The theme of the program will be how leadership is conceived and practiced in different capacities (governmental, community, civil society, private sector, etc.) and in different regions of the United States. The two key components of the program are an academic residency, conducted at a US university, running approximately four weeks; and an educational study tour to one or two other regions of the United States, running approximately two weeks (including Washington, D.C.), designed to directly complement and reinforce the concepts explored in the academic residency program.

– Illustrated presentation and trip for preserving leopards in Yemen

The Yemeni Leopard Recovery Program (YLRP) will organize an illustrated presentation about its program on Tuesday, February 19th. The YLRP is a last-ditch effort to reverse the decline of Arabian leopards in Yemen. Already, lions, cheetahs, ostriches, Arabian oryxes, and a host of other wildlife has been driven to extinction in the Arabian Peninsula, with Arabian leopards hanging on by the thinnest of threads.

The presentation will include the biology and conservation of leopards in Yemen, and explain in detail how the YLRP started, how it works, what it has accomplished, and what has yet to be done. The program is also working on organizing an overnight trip to Wada'a, an area northwest of Amran where leopards are believed to exist. So far, the program has not announced the date for the trip.

– Regional School Principals Seminar

On February 10, 2008, the British Council is holding a Regional Seminar for School Principals as part of the Connecting Classrooms initiative. 16 school principals from schools in Sana'a will join a further 20 school heads from Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE and seminar leaders from the UK for a two-day seminar on school leadership and developing international links.

Connecting Classrooms is a long-term British Council project that facilitates dialogue between youths in the Middle East and the UK, challenges stereotypes, and develops projects in the field of social responsibility. The project develops ties and links between young students in the regions through discussion and teamwork. It also fosters communication between schools and engenders mutual understanding.

The project creates international learning partnerships that encourage schools and students to share experiences and develop mutual awareness and understanding. It also offers teachers the opportunity to share in joint curriculum projects, visit their partner schools and be involved in collaborative learning.

To date, 24 schools in Yemen have established ties with schools in the UK, and a further 16 will form new partnerships in March 2008. The project has the full support and participation of the Ministry of Education and Directorate of Education in Sana'a. During the February seminar, head teachers from the region will discuss leadership and international schools partnerships and the collaborative projects their schools will establish with schools in the UK.

Elizabeth White, Director of the British Council in Sana'a, stated, “We look forward to welcoming so many school principals from across the region and to taking further our Connecting Classrooms initiative. We know that supporting school principals is crucial in successfully creating links between schools; we hope that the seminar will give a good foundation for the next round of school links, and allow for networking among this group of school leaders from around the region.”

– Training on digital media

In December 2007, representatives of Jordanian and Kuwaiti civil society organizations successfully produced their own public service announcements (PSAs), after undergoing digital media training workshops organized by the New York-based organization, Barefoot. The training, supported by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), taught participants how to conceptualize, film, produce, and edit their own PSAs, and provided these organizations with new tools for engaging a wide audience of fellow citizens on key issues of public concern.

Some of the PSAs have already been screened on television and posted to the participant organizations' websites. All of the PSAs were posted on YouTube, where they have already been viewed in Arabic and English by more than seven thousand visitors. The MEPI Regional Office has also posted a collection of the PSAs on its newly-created YouTube channel. .

With their new digital technology skill and equipment, the participant organizations can continue to deliver targeted messages to the general public for years to come. One Jordanian participant is planning to set up a website to solicit and host PSAs from around the region that promote human rights from an Arab perspective, according to an article in the Jordan Times dated December 24, 2007.