The U.S. Department of State has named Faten Saleh of France as State Alumni Member of the Month. Saleh is an alumna of both the Summer Institute for European Student Leaders and the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. Throughout June, her leadership and promotion of mutual understanding will be recognized on the State Alumni website (https://alumni.state.gov), the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ official site 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.
Upon returning from the Summer Institute for European Student Leaders program in 2006, Saleh successfully implemented several volunteer initiatives she observed in the United States. She remained active while a Fulbright Foreign Student at American University in 2008. She was elected to the LL.M (Master of Laws) Executive Student Board, where she helped organize a series of lectures, including ones on sensitive issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Upon returning to France, Saleh joined the staff of the Special Representative of France to the Middle-East before becoming an international advocacy assistant in a Palestinian non-governmental organization (NGO) in Israel. She also helped establish a debate group for French youth called Club J.E.A.D., and became involved with Convergences Méditerranée, an NGO dealing with diversity and understanding in France.
Saleh returned to the United States to participate in a Fulbright enrichment seminar on social entrepreneurship in San Antonio, Texas. She subsequently partnered with two other alumni to organize a three-day seminar in Paris, in January 2011, for 100 alumni of the Summer Institute for European Student Leaders on social entrepreneurship. The event, modeled after the Fulbright enrichment seminar, had participants learn from social entrepreneurs before being challenged to design their own initiatives. Observing that many groups at the seminar discussed the concept of identity, Saleh reasoned that the unique perspective of this diverse group of alumni could promote international mutual understanding, particularly in the European context of the growth of political extremes and fear of the “other.” Saleh, with other alumni, is leading the implementation of a blog on identity for bloggers in European countries and in the United States to relate feelings about their national identities with respect to their European identity and their family identity.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange. Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.
For more information about exchange alumni, visit our website at http://exchanges.state.gov/alumni.
Media Contact: Catherine Stearns, StearnsCL@state.gov, phone (202) 632-6437