The U.S. Department of State has named Zakeya Ahmed Ali Zada of Bahrain as State Alumni Member of the Month. Zakeya is an alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).
In 2007, Zakeya participated in the IVLP project “Promoting Tolerance through the Arts.” Today she implements concepts gained in that project when designing educational programming. She works to raise cultural awareness among youth by organizing visits to key national heritage sites. During the annual “Spring of Culture in 2008,” she organized an exhibition for children to view and learn about the significance of masks in many countries around the world. Visitors to the exhibit in turn created masks to gain insight into their own cultural heritage.
One of Zakeya’s significant achievements has been her work with the ECA-sponsored photography/art exhibit “Picturing America” at the Bahrain National Museum. With the leadership of the Bahraini Minister of Culture and Information, Zakeya garnered significant support for both the exhibit and associated programs. Collaborating with two youth-development specialists from the National Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C., and an ECA Cultural Envoy from the National Endowment for the Humanities, she designed and implemented a community outreach program that provided direct programming to over 1,000 Bahrainis through lectures, workshops, and seminars. Says Public Diplomacy Officer David Edginton at U.S. Embassy Manama: “Zakeya had the vision for what this type of program could accomplish, the organizational abilities to pull it together, and the persuasive ability to convince stakeholders to invest in it.”
Zakeya also promotes environmental awareness. She has lectured on climate change at the Bahrain National Museum and organized a clean-up day by the Hamad Burial Mounds.
Zakeya has also served as the National Country Coordinator for the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program. As one of the early regional leaders of this program, she was instrumental in its expansion throughout Bahrain’s public school system.
Zakeya credits her IVLP project for motivating her work, emphasizing that the exchange experience was valuable and educational both professionally and personally, and it provided useful ideas and techniques. Throughout March, her contributions to advancing international education and cultural awareness among youth in Bahrain will be recognized on the State Alumni website, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ official website for the more than one million alumni who have participated in a Department-sponsored exchange program. Each month, the Bureau’s Office of Alumni Affairs, which supports alumni as they build on their exchange experiences, confers the award on an outstanding alumnus or alumna.
For more information, visit the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ website at http://exchanges.state.gov/alumni/alumnus.html, or contact Catherine Stearns at StearnsCL@state.gov or (202) 632-6437.