Alumni of programs supported by the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs’ Office of the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) are coordinating a region-wide initiative in collaboration with U.S. embassies to promote inclusive rights for persons with disabilities in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Thousands of alumni and local volunteers in Algeria, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, the West Bank and Gaza, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen will engage with local disability rights-focused organizations, media, and persons with disabilities to support their economic, social, and political rights.
Advancing disability rights worldwide is important not just for persons with disabilities, but for society as a whole. This initiative and other U.S. government programs help foster the awareness and understanding needed to guarantee equal rights for all. MEPI projects support democracy and good governance, empower women, inspire youth and foster economic opportunities throughout the Middle East and North Africa region. ECA programs aim to increase understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations. Active MEPI and ECA alumni networks positively respond to the needs of local communities through various projects and activities.
Activities began on December 1, 2013 to celebrate the United Nations’ International Day for Persons with Disabilities (December 3), and will continue throughout the rest of the month. This initiative marks the MEPI Alumni Network’s second annual Day of Service.