In 2017, the U.S. Department of State hosted its seventh annual Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) project competition. AEIF supports international exchange alumni initiatives that promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges.
This year CCI alumnus Waleed Rashwan and his team were selected as one of 68 AEIF project finalists. Waleed’s project, Empowering Girls Through Sports (Girls Club), aims to empower girls through education, sports, workshops on communication, and leadership activities. The program, which will take place in Egypt, will encourage civic engagement and build advocacy for girls’ and women’s’ rights.
Waleed is from Egypt and was a 2009-2010 CCI participant at Northcentral Technical College where he studied business administration and management. During his exchange year, Waleed was a member of a fundraising team that helped establish a peace sculpture to represent the friendship between American and Egyptian people. The Wausau Peace Sculpture is still located in downtown Wausau, Wisconsin.
When asked about what skills he learned in the United States that were most valuable to his AEIF proposal’s success, he said project management, grant proposal writing, and volunteering. Waleed also said his exchange experience helped him secure a strong position at a prominent NGO in Egypt that helps improve the lives of marginalized children in Egypt.
Working with an NGO focused on improving the lives of children was a natural pathway to envisioning the AEIF proposal for Empowering Girls Through Sports (Girls Club). Waleed’s project aims to create a space where young girls can engage in activities where they feel empowered by one another. By encouraging young women to create social and friendship networks through sports, education, workshops, and leadership activities, the Girls Club project is a way to help improve the lives of young girls in Egypt.
This year, out of 1,014 project submissions from 125 countries, Waleed’s project was one of 68 alumni teams representing 53 countries selected as an AEIF finalist. Congratulations, Waleed!