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The MEPI Lebanese Alumni Association held its mid-term networking event on April 6, 2011 at the Monroe Hotel.  Over 90 alumni of MEPI programs, including well-known CEOs, Executive Directors of NGOs, and active members of civil society organizations from around the country met with U.S. Embassy representatives as well as members of the Capacity Building Program implementing agency Lebanese Development Network (LDN).

The meeting presented the results of LDN’s capacity building workshops on Proposal Writing, NGO Cause & Community, Basics of Social Media and NGO Project Management. 

LDN President Amin Nehme began the evening by welcoming everyone attending, followed by Eliane Fersan, MEPI Program Specialist at the U.S. Embassy, who briefed the attendees on MEPI alumni membership procedures and the importance of becoming an official member of MEPI-LAA. She congratulated MEPI Alumnus Salyne el Samarany for being one of two finalists in Lebanon for the U.S. Department of State Alumni Engagement Innovative Fund and encouraged all MEPI alumni in Lebanon to vote for Salyne’s project through the State Department website. Lina Sukar, MEPI alumna and Field Officer of the MEPI-LAA Capacity Building Program, presented information about the workshops already completed. She was then followed by four testimonies from alumni members who attended these workshops.

Salyne El Samarany said that her knowledge was increased especially in terms of why NGOs are established and for what reasons and that her overall knowledge about concept papers, etc.  has improved in a more practical manner.

Roldy Arrouk testified that the change that he felt after the workshops was not a change in his information level only, but a change in his heart that social work is a means to bridge estranged communities and to overcome prejudice.

Marwan Abdallah discussed how the capacity building workshops helped him have a better view of the role of MEP-LAA, and on the personal level encouraged him to become a more industrious person and a person who takes initiatives.

Judge Maysam Noueiri stated that, although she comes from a different background, in addition to seconding the previous testimonies, she appreciates the networking opportunities that MEPI-LAA and its activities offer.

Lebanon’s MEPI Coordinator Amanda Cranmer closed the event by stressing that the importance of MEPI-LAA is that it is a unique organization in Lebanon, where more than 300 members with leadership qualities from diverse backgrounds, who otherwise would not know each other or even meet, gather under MEPI’s wings as people committed to freedom and democracy. Being this incubator, she concluded, is in itself a noble role for MEPI-LAA.

The alumni were touched by the warm reception and participated in high spirits, making the meeting was big success.

 

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