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Despite the troubling news and rising concern about Egypt, the women who make up the Women’s Initiative Fellowship are making strides toward improving their society. The George W. Bush Institute is proud to launch a blog series that spotlights the courageous and innovative Egyptian women who are members of the 2013 Women’s Initiative Fellowship class. Over the next several months, the Women’s Initiative will highlight the accomplishments of these remarkable women. The first in this series celebrates three women who are contributing to the betterment of their communities amidst the unrest and extremely challenging circumstances they are facing in Egypt today. Building upon the leadership training and skills they received during the U.S. portion of the Fellowship, the Fellows are furthering the development and advancement of Egypt and leaving a significant mark on society.
Jacqueline Mourad, Deputy Executive Director, Professional Development Foundation
Jacqueline is the Deputy Executive Director at Professional Development Foundation, an NGO that contributes to Egypt’s economic growth and aims to increase Egypt’s global competitiveness through enhancing workforce performance. Her passion for the history of Egypt gives Jacqueline hope for her country’s future. Jacqueline believes that Egyptian youth have the potential to make a great impact, and she develops and implements programs that provide the next generation with the skills and education necessary to further the development of their country. Jacqueline holds a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology from the University of Cairo and a M.B.A. from Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands.
Upon returning to Egypt in April, Jacqueline began working on a computer refurbishment campaign. Her team recognized that the poorest Egyptians are limited to computer use in public centers, restricting families’ computer use to the hours of operation of these centers. In seeking to address this issue, they found that government agencies, corporations and businesses tend to replace their computers on average every two to five years. By obtaining the computers from these companies, the program can refurbish the computers and sell them at a reduced rate to lower income families, affording them access to technology at home. As Jacqueline explains, “The campaign seeks to give these computers a second life in the hands of those who cannot afford new ones.”
Her team recently crossed two major mile markers on their way to launching the pilot program. First, they partnered with a repair company in San Francisco that will provide repair toolkits and technology support free of charge. These toolkits will provide the technicians with the necessary tools to refurbish and prepare the computers for their second life. Secondly, the campaign received the endorsement of a corporation in Egypt that will provide hands-on training and support for the staff members as they obtain, refurbish and distribute these computers.
With the aforementioned progress, the program’s pilot will launch in the coming months. We look forward to reporting on its future success.
NGOs Connection Day hosted by the Professional Development Foundation.
In the midst of Egypt’s unrest, it is heartening to hear reports such as these. We believe these women will continue to play a powerful role in effecting change in their communities and are proud of their accomplishments. Individually, these women are strong; as a class, they form a resilient circle with a powerful vision for the future of their beloved country.
Betsy Martin, Regional Development Director, joined the George W. Bush Presidential Center in 2013. A member of the development team, she is responsible for building relationships with corporations, foundations, and other non-profit organizations. She works closely with Bush Institute program directors to obtain support for projects in education reform, economic growth, human freedom, global health, women's empowerment, and aid to U.S. military veterans.
Most recently, Martin served as Deputy Director of the Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, she was responsible for setting and implementing the vision of the Women's Initiative which seeks to empower women worldwide to lead in their communities and countries. During her tenure, Martin directed a year-long leadership program for rising women leaders in the Middle East and North Africa and highlighted stories of hope in Afghanistan through the publishing and promotion of We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope.
Prior to joining the Bush Center, Martin served as a Senior Event Coordinator for the Washington Speakers Bureau where she managed speaking engagements and advance for Mrs. Laura Bush, Jenna Bush Hager, Barbara Bush, and Governor Jeb Bush. Martin served in the Bush Administration as Scheduler and Trip Coordinator to Mrs. Laura Bush.
A native of Mississippi, Martin graduated from Samford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Akola Project.
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While there have been tremendous gains in Afghanistan, lack of security threatens these gains daily.
Q&A with Dr. Nilofar Ibrahimi, Member of Parliament, Afghanistan
Dr. Nilofar Ibrahimi is a member of the national assembly of Afghanistan. She represents Badakhshan province in the Wolesi Jirga (house of representatives). Her story is one of survival, pursuit of dreams, and dedication to women’s well-being and health. Here, Dr. Ibrahimi shares her thoughts on the current state of Afghan women’s empowerment, the challenges women face in achieving equal rights, and the impact women have on the country’s long-term peace, security, and prosperity.
In Case You Missed It: The Breadwinner, an animated film about the strength and resilience of Afghan women and girls, premieres in the U.S.
The Breadwinner, a new animated film from executive producer Angelina Jolie, tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is wrongfully arrested, Parvana disguises herself as a boy in order to support her family. With dauntless perseverance, Parvana draws strength from the stories her father told her, and ultimately risks her life to discover if he is still alive. The Breadwinner is an inspiring reminder of the power of stories, and their potential to unite and heal us all. It also provides an important spotlight on the struggle endured by Afghan families during the Taliban regime and the resilience of women and girls and their influence in building a brighter future for Afghanistan. Last year, the Bush Institute released We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope, which spotlights more of these courageous stories of Afghan women. Learn more about the book and our work by visiting:&nb