The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Office of Assistance Coordination (NEA/AC) announces a new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) aimed at promoting social and private entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by partnering with its Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)
Alumni networks can be effective social networks that generate both a higher level of interaction and longer-lived relationships, and ultimately improve social and private entrepreneurial performance by at least 8% more than other non-connected initiatives, according to a 2010 Harvard Business Review study.
The corporate world is realizing that treating ex-employees as ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂalumniÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ increases referrals, client business, as well as advice and input on internal issues and job leads.
MEPI aims to apply these lessons in its new initiative aimed at enhancing its alumni relations in order to sustain its social and business entrepreneurship efforts in the region.
Problem Statement Since 2002, MEPI has invested substantial time and resources building the leadership skills and strengthening the organizational capacity of participants in exchange and grants programs.
A 2016 internal field assessment identified challenges that alumni face and opportunities that can be leveraged to advance MEPI objectives and values.
Field assessment findings suggest the following:
alumni benefited greatly from participating in the MEPI programs, and many sought additional opportunities and enrichment to further their professional skills and develop their portfolio as community and business leaders; a large number of the TomorrowÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs Leaders program alumni are not fully integrated into the MEPI or State Department alumni fora; U. S. embassiesÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ capacity to maintain a strong alumni-network is inconsistent; alumniÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs work and life commitments prevent them from participating in events that they view as merely social; new alumni face challenges reintegrating into their home countries after participating in exchange programs, and some are unable to identify meaningful pathways to maintain the skills and the relationships they acquired from participating in the program; while maintaining connections on an individual basis, most alumni lose out on opportunities from which they could have benefited had they followed up on the connections they established with their cohort, American counterparts, or fellow in-country alumni; and many old alumni, who have become business and community leaders, mentored others, and participated in other U. S. government-funded leadership programs, have lost touch with MEPI.