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Women's Initiative Fellowship

The Bush Institute's Women’s Initiative Fellowship empowers and equips women in the Middle East and North Africa to become effective leaders.

Research shows that one of the best indicators of a woman’s success is her network. The Women’s Initiative Fellowship, a signature program of the Women’s Initiative, is uniquely structured to establish a robust women’s network, which enables women to have a greater voice on issues that affect them. By recognizing the importance of networks for socioeconomic success and stability, the Fellowship empowers and equips women to become effective leaders.

Core Components

  • In the classroom, Fellows learn key leadership skills, including negotiation, effective team building, leading change, building power networks, influence without authority, effective communication, collaboration across boundaries, and understanding and developing resilience.
  • Fellows develop Personal Leadership Plans to engage and improve their communities and countries.
  • Through mentorship, Fellows experience the practical application of their studies and learn best practices from effective leaders across all sectors. Meet the mentors | View our action partners


After participation in the program, 30% were awarded a new leadership position

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Meet the Fellows

In the Spotlight: Emna Ben Arab

One fellow who put her Fellowship experience into practice to affect a vulnerable segment of society was Emna Ben Arab. Emna’s passion is education reform, but her struggle was how to reach more of Tunisia’s 2.3 million children, beyond the kids in her own secondary school and the students she taught as a Professor at Sfax University. A trip to Google in California’s Silicon Valley and a meeting with the Google X group, which pioneers Google’s “moon-shot ideas,” such as the self-driving car, led Emna to ask what are “my own moon-shot ideas and my own wide dreams?” She returned to Tunisia determined to create an education campus where any child can arrive at age four and leave at 21 having learned the skills that will prepare him or her for the global job market.


Fellows report that more than 17,000 women are part of their growing networks

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“Leadership is a choice, not a gift.”

- Emna Ben Arab, Tunisian Fellow

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