The Professional Fellows Program between Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and the U.S.

Theme: Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) Development for Organizations Improving the Status of the Disabled
Funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, this program seeks applicants for a two-way exchange program that will focus on nongovernmental organization development for organizations working in the field of improving the status of the disabled. The program aims to strengthen the leadership capacity and professional skills of mid-level professionals from Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia working in non-governmental organizations dedicated to promoting the empowerment of persons with disabilities. Selected participants will take part in a US-based exchange program from May 2 to June 4, 2016, where they will be placed in fellowships with local organizations in Chicago, IL or Seattle, WA. They will also attend the three-day Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, DC, where they will be able to meet fellow participants from around the world. After the completion of the US-based program, participants will continue their involvement with an exchange program in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in summer 2016, when they and their organizations will work with American exchange participants to build on activities conducted and continue collaborating on initiatives begun during the US program.
HANDS invites qualified professionals from Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco who are currently working for registered local NGO to promote the empowerment, better quality of life and inclusion of persons with disabilities to apply.
During the US-based exchange, selected applicants will participate in:
Fellowship posts with a counterpart organizations in the US, in order to collaborate with American colleagues and learn about their areas of activity;
Visits and networking opportunities with relevant organizations and institutions;
The Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, DC at the end of the fellowship, which will provide opportunities to meet other Professional Fellows Program participants sponsored by the US Department of State, and network with potential partners and counterpart institutions and individuals;
Cultural experiences that will build positive relationships between Egyptians, Tunisians, Moroccans and Americans, including opportunities for sightseeing and touring.
All travel, accommodation, and food costs for participants will be covered by the program, as well as local transportation costs and fees for educational and cultural visits. The program will also provide participants with health insurance and a J-1 visa to travel to the US.
Program Schedule
May 2 to May 30, 2016: Fellowship exchange program
May 31  to June 3, 2016: Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, DC
Summer 2016: Exchange programs in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia*
*Planned for the summer, but subject to change, exact dates to be confirmed
Eligibility Criteria
This program aims to strengthen the leadership capacity and skills of mid-level NGO professionals from Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt who are working to promote the empowerment and inclusion of the disabled in their societies.
Applicants must meet the following criteria:
Age: Applicants must be between the ages of 25 and 40.
Education: Candidates should have completed university level education.
English language: English proficiency is mandatory. Participants should have very strong English reading, writing, and speaking skills. The application and interview will be in English and applicants’ language ability will be assessed accordingly.
Professional experience: Prospective participants should have at least three years of demonstrated involvement with activities promoting the empowerment of the disabled in their societies, as well as an interest in employing new mechanisms to advance such work and be affiliated with registered NGO in their country.
Dedication to and soundness of plans for the future: Candidates must demonstrate long-term thoughtfulness about the inclusion and participation of the disabled in their societies. The application will ask candidates to submit an essay showing their understanding of the importance of the empowerment of the disabled, their own plans for addressing this issue after the exchange, and an awareness of the current challenges of promoting such activities, as well as the replicable successes already achieved in their home country.
Long-term commitment to the program that extends beyond the official end-date.
Recommendations: Applicants must be able to supply two letters of recommendation.
Passport: Applicants must possess a valid passport for travel with an expiration date that does not fall before the dates of required travel.

Instructions for Application
The deadline to apply is December 15, 2015. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early.
Download the application by clicking the link below, and send it to us
 If you have any questions, please email Ivana Smucker at

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