Legacy International is very pleased to welcome the Fall 2019 PFP cohort!  The Professional Fellows Program (PFP) for Economic Empowerment, Middle East and North Africa is a two-way exchange program for professionals ranging from 25 to 38 years of age and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. This program is designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, and build lasting, sustainable partnerships between mid-level emerging leaders committed to strengthen their communities through social entrepreneurship and workforce development.  The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development defines economic empowerment as the capacity of women and men to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes in ways that recognize the value of their contributions, respect their dignity, and make it possible to negotiate a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth.

Since 2010, Legacy has hosted nearly 250 delegates from Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia, and Oman. Though these Fellows come from varying countries and unique walks of life, they all share one thing in common: a desire to promote economic empowerment, promote mutual understanding, build long-lasting partnerships between one another and professionals here in the United States, while strengthening their respective communities by way of workforce development and entrepreneurship. 

PFP Fellows are placed in intensive Fellowships in non-profit organizations, private sector businesses, and government offices for an individually tailored professional development experience. This year’s delegation includes 20 astounding participants from Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Libya who, for an intensive six week program, will have the opportunity to work in business development and social entrepreneurship. Furthermore, they will be placed in businesses / offices in Washington D.C., and will finish off their stay with host families in South Western Virginia to share cultural understanding and promote cross-cultural exchange. 

Professional Fellows from Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Libya engage in team building activities at Virginia Tech University during the first week of the program.

There is a wide range of interests and expertise among the Fellows this season; such expertise range from being the CEO / Co-CEO’s / founders of their own organizations, to English teachers, industrial engineers, career coaches, entrepreneurs, and activists, to name a few.  While in the States, these Fellows will be placed based on their fields of work with varying organizations such as the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), which provides quality urban recreation and services for residents and those visiting the D.C. area.  Another organization where Fellows will be placed is Village Capital, an organization which builds bridges for entrepreneurs who are motivated to work in creating not only an inclusive, but sustainable world.  Finally, LearnServe International is just another example of an organization which Fellows will visit and work with, and their mission is to equip high-schoolers from diverse backgrounds with an entrepreneurial vision, confidence, and leadership skills that are required in order to tackle social changes at school and at home. 

Once the six-week program has come to an end, each Fellow will have follow-on projects – supported by mini-grants – to complete in their respective countries.  As this is a two-way exchange program, U.S. professionals will in turn visit the Fellows they hosted in their countries to learn first-hand about their cultures, projects, and support their follow-on work.

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The Professional Fellows Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Legacy International.