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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2002 > December
Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 12, 2002


U.S. -Middle East Partnership Initiative

SUMMARY

  • The U.S. -Middle East Partnership Initiative will provide a framework and funding for the U.S. to work together with governments and people in the Arab world to expand economic, political and educational opportunities for all.

  • The Initiative will encompass the more than $1 billion in assistance that the U.S. government provides to Arab countries annually. The United States is also committing $29 million in initial funding for pilot projects in support of reform in each area listed above. We will also be requesting significant additional funds next year.

  • The Initiative is a partnership and we will work closely with governments in the Arab world, other donors, academic institutions, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

  • As part of the Initiative, we will review existing U.S. assistance programs in the region to ensure our aid is reaching as many people as possible across the region, with a particular emphasis on women and children. We also want to insure that we are providing the most effective and efficient assistance possible.

  • Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage will serve as coordinator for the Initiative. The Initiative will be managed by the Near East Affairs Bureau of the Department of State.

PROGRAMS

Examples of programs we will fund and expect to fund in the future include the following:

Education

  • "Partnerships for Learning " program to share knowledge with all levels of society in the Middle East through programs such as a Georgia State University workshop for non-governmnetal (NGO) leaders from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Programs focused on improving the lives of girls and women through literacy training and scholarships to stay in school.

  • Efforts that expand access to bodies of knowledge and promote active learning, for example through e-learning, English teaching and book publishing initiatives. We will focus in particular on connecting more schools and students to the Internet.

  • Implementing teacher training programs at the primary and secondary school levels and expanding university linkages for higher education.

  • Scholarships for undergraduate study in the United States and in American universities within the region, focusing on degrees in fields such as economics, education, business administration, information technology, and the sciences.

Economic Reform and Private Sector Development

  • Assistance to Arab members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to help them comply with their commitments and technical assistance on WTO criteria to aspiring WTO members in the region.

  • Enterprise funds with private sector management to provide capital and technical assistance to promising entrepreneurs and their business ventures. We will also establish new micro-enterprise programs to help new micro-business.

  • New Department of Commerce Special American Business Internship Training scholarships, which will provide internships in American companies, and also will focus on developing networks and training opportunities for women entrepreneurs from the Middle East.

  • Assistance in financial sector reform for governments across the region.

  • Programs to assist on-going efforts to increase transparency and fight corruption.

Strengthening Civil Society

  • Through mechanisms such as the Middle East Democracy Fund, assistance to non-governmental organizations and individuals from across the political spectrum working for political reform.

  • Support for establishment of more NGOs, independent media outlets, polling organizations, think tanks, and business associations -- groups that create the foundation for a vibrant democracy.

  • Programs that will increase the transparency of legal and regulatory systems and improve administration of the judicial process.

  • Training for candidates for political office and for members of parliaments and other elected officials.

  • Training and exchanges for electronic and print journalists.

Released on December 12, 2002

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