If you get inspired by changemakers in the Arab World, check out AMENDS.
When the Arab Spring broke out in 2011, two Stanford University graduates- one born and raised in Bahrain and the other in Chicago- got inspired about the ability of youth to lead change throughout the Arab World. Their conversation didn't end with optimism alone; they founded AMENDS, a student-led, Stanford-supported initiative to support changemakers throughout the region, with the idea that simply bringing young leaders together can galvanize transfomation.
They hope to simply "build a generation of leaders," says co-founder Elliot Stoller.
Today, the idea is supported by Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, employs a team of 15 students from around the globe, and brought 36 leaders from 17 countries together last year to receive mentorship and give inspiring talks.
This year, the program is repeating its formula, seeking applications (last year it sorted through over 300), and supporting leaders through three main channels:
1) Mentorship, from a team of 21 mentors from around the world, who mentor leaders for 3 months over Skype calls, emails, and meetings leading up to the Summit.
2) A yearly Summit, held in April, for which AMENDS brings all of the chosen youth leaders to Stanford for a five-day gathering to network, attend leadership training and workshops, and ultimately create AMENDS talks.
3) The AMENDS talks are TED-style talks in which leaders present their work and ideas to the community and the broader world, in hopes of inspiring others.
Seed Delegates should:
- Be between the ages of 18 and 28
- Have innovative ideas and well thought-out initiatives that could affect positive change in the world.
- Be addressing political, social, or economic issues pertaining to the Middle East in innovative ways.
- Be able to further understanding between the respective regions and demonstrate potential to influence American-Middle Eastern affairs.
Check out AMENDS Delegates Sherif Maktabi, who launched Project Better in Beirut, Fadi Quran, a Palestinian-American grassroots activist, and Palestinian activist Sherihan Abdel-Rahman below.