Kamelia Hammachi is one of the Fellows from Algiers, Algeria, her project is titled “Cluster of Competencies from diverse Consultants,” and her goal is to create a complete accredited consulting and coaching program for professionals to improve Algerian organizations’ productivity and efficiency. When asked what she was most looking forward to in the Professional Fellows Program, she reported that, “…The reason why I joined PFP is because there is an opportunity for me to learn the best practices from existing corporate businesses and people in the field, and to make my project succeed…but the exchange program has already been worth it, because we are challenging ourselves to understand each other’s ways of thinking.”

When asked what she hopes to take home with her once the program has ended, she said, “I want to take the power of dreaming big home with me. And also, knowing that I will always be mentored and I will never be alone, even when I go home. I will always have the mentorship and support of Legacy International. I want to always think big and small at the same time.”

Shady Khalil is another one of our Fellows from Cairo, Egypt, and he is the CEO of Greenish and the Co-Director of VeryNile. At Greenish, he works to raise awareness about how to live a sustainable lifestyle through SM campaigns and clean-up events. He also helps businesses through green transformation and developing technologies to enhance the recycling and collection of plastic.  His business mainly transforms plastic into items such as bracelets, shoes, and waste bags, and many of the people who are employed are those who do not have access to jobs, therefore, they try to solve the waste problem by employing more people. When asked what he is most looking forward to in this program and what he hopes to gain, he said, “The fellowship organization is the most exciting part for me, because it will give me a chance to work with professionals in my field and to collaborate [by adding to their work and them, to mine], and also getting to know other Fellows and explore collaboration among one another.”  Furthermore, Shady stated that one of the aspects he hopes to take home with him the most is a “Different perspective and partnerships that can reach across borders.”

Rodaina Boushaheen, is a PFP Fellow from Lebanon, and she is the founder of Reef. Reef’s mission is to empower women in rural communities and is a social enterprise that provides catering services for NGOs. These NGOs can then hire women in rural areas to cater their events; thus, providing women with job opportunities where they can be more productive and creative.  Rodaina said that she is most looking forward to gaining the perspective and insight of how empowering women and catering typically happens in the USA, while taking a look at the best practices used in this country. She also wants to learn by interacting with the “big minds” in the field, and aspires to learn how to think like them while she manages and scales-up her business.  What Rodaina wants to take home with her once her time in the USA has come to an end is a “know-how” on the food industry, and a “social entrepreneurship mindset” while learning what the most important practices are to keep in mind while investing her time and energy into her business.

Hamza Muftah is our Fellow from Sabratha, Libya, and he is the Project Manager at Sabratha Youth Center for Capacity Building (SYCCB), one of the Youth Projects in Sabratha affiliated to OKLSE (NGO).  SYCCB works in the field of youth empowerment and development as well as entrepreneurship and innovation. As the Project Manager, he is responsible for the successful planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling, and closure of all the activities in SYCCB. Hamza is looking forward to developing his skills and expertise in entrepreneurship and management for running accelerators and incubators professionally.  He reported that he has already gained much knowledge from his five days in Roanoke, Virginia, visiting accelerators and incubators in this area. He also reported how he wants to establish a network with colleagues from the USA and with the other PFP Fellows. When he goes home, his goal is to establish an online accelerator run by experts both from the USA and entrepreneurs from elsewhere, such as Libya. He also looks forward to expanding his network and taking home the connections he will make (and has already made) from being in the USA.

The Professional Fellows Program (PFP) for Economic Empowerment, Middle East and North Africa is a two-way exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, and build lasting, sustainable partnerships between mid-level emerging leaders committed to strengthening their communities through social entrepreneurship and workforce development.

PFP Fellows are placed in intensive fellowships in non-profit organizations, private sector businesses, and government offices for an individually tailored professional development experience.  They build a broad network with American and other program participant colleagues as they develop a deeper understanding of U.S. society, enhance their professional skills.  American participants who have hosted foreign fellows travel overseas for participant-driven reciprocal programs.

Since 2010 Legacy International has hosted more than 250 Professional Fellows from the countries of Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia and Oman.