What We Do
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WE Lead

Developing Women Leaders

WE Lead engages women leaders who share a common vision of advancing peaceful, prosperous societies through the expansion of economic opportunity for all. Mid-career professionals from Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia participate in a five-month leadership development program designed to:

  • Enhance leadership skills and ability to drive impact.
  • Facilitate regional connections to address shared challenges and goals.
  • Foster direct application of learning through personal leadership projects.
  • Achieve a multiplier effect in the lives of others.

Program components take place in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and via online sessions.

The program builds on the Bush Institute’s early Women’s Initiative Fellowship, which graduated 64 emerging leaders from Egypt and Tunisia.

Advancing Policy and Action

WE Lead develops informed thought leadership highlighting the importance of U.S. support for women’s advancement and the growth of economic opportunity in the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan. Research, lessons learned, and individual stories underscore the value of women’s leadership and inclusion in solving societal challenges around the world.

Core Leadership Development Components

  • An initial two-week visit to the United States strengthens participants’ leadership skills and expands their knowledge of open market principles and evidence-based policy creation.
  • Participants return to their country and begin applying what they have learned. In-region training helps reinforce knowledge and skills introduced in the U.S.
  • At the end of the program, participants return to the U.S. for a final week of site visits to demonstrate key program principles and leadership skills in action. At the conclusion of the week, participants graduate from the program and join the alumni network.

the Bush Institute's women's leadership program

WE Lead promotes and strengthens the capacity of women leaders in the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan to create economic opportunity and contribute to the development of more open, peaceful, and prosperous societies.

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Meet the Scholars

Focus on the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Afghanistan experience some of the world’s worst gender inequities. Restricted labor force participation for women in these regions costs countries billions annually.

Building on the legacy of President and Mrs. Bush to empower women from MENA and Afghanistan, WE Lead seeks to equip today’s economic innovators with the tools to be tomorrow’s leaders. The countries where we operate - Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia - face stagnating economies, large gender disparities, and high unemployment rates. Despite these obstacles, women leaders are stepping forward to solve challenges and expand prosperity for all.

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“All people—men and women—want to contribute to the success of their country. And all people—men and women—must have the opportunity to do so.”

- Mrs. Laura Bush