Lebanese Women's Political Leadership Training in Northwest Ohio

The Great Lakes Consortium has developed a political leadership-training program for a delegation of Lebanese women in cooperation with the Lebanese Association of Toledo, led by Mr. John Shousher. Nine Lebanese women currently elected, appointed, working as administrative officials, political or NGO leaders are visiting Northwest Ohio during March 2001. Since the City of Toledo has adopted a municipal resolution supporting cooperation with Bekaa Valley, some of the delegation members were selected from that region.The leadership-training program aims to enhance the capacity of program participants to play an extended role in rebuilding Lebanon. The three weeks program will consist of joint site visits and meetings throughout Northwest Ohio, focusing on specific topics. In this way, participants will learn about the American political process, opportunities for women in government, mobilizing resources, running for office, public-private partnerships, the use of volunteer staff and Lebanese-American relations. Program participants will have the opportunity to network and to gain first hand experience throughout the project. Delegation members will individually shadow local mentors from various levels of government, who will provide the Lebanese women with assistance in preparing their action plans. This type of mentoring opportunity will foster a reciprocal relationship wherein guests learn about the operations of our government while we learn from the experience they convey.

The exchange program developed by the Great Lakes Consortium has been awarded a grant by the Office of Citizens Exchanges in the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the US State Department (formerly USIA) in 1999.