Hello, I’m Saif Na’amneh, from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, I’m so excited to be with Youthlinc this Summer through the US – Jordan Leadership Exchange Program fellowship for 4 weeks. US – Jordan Leadership Exchange Program (UJLEP) supports a new generation of collaborative, innovative, and values-driven Jordanian leaders who drive success and growth in their economy and civil society, while strengthening ties between the United States and Jordan.

During the last 3 months I participated in a leadership training in Jordan before traveling to the US for a tailored practicum and cultural experience with Youthlinc. I see that my experience with Youthlinc will allow me to be more open to other cultures and to improve the means of dealing with civil society issues; community engagement; youth and women’s empowerment; diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility (DEIA); civic participation; public health; and environment and climate change efforts. 

Though my professional background is in petroleum refinement, I am passionate about empowering youth in Jordan to become active members of their community and ultimately participate in politics and decision-making processes. As a volunteer, I have worked with various international nonprofits and civil society organizations to promote human rights, community education, and entrepreneurship.

I think Youthlinc is a very good place to acquire new distinctive skills, especially since it has a professional team with extensive experience in humanitarian work and international projects, in addition to having a diverse cultural knowledge that creates opportunity to learn multiple cultures in one place.

I have a very unique and exciting part to play upon my return to Jordan. I am running a political campaign for my brother. As I merge my knowledge from all that I’ve learned here and back home, I believe I will be better equipped for that journey alongside him.

During my time here in Utah, I have worked closely with each staff member at Youthlinc to expand my knowledge. Alongside that, I have been able to experience the vastness of Utah’s culture. Though I only have 1 month being here, I have visited lakes, hiked, eaten at popular restaurants, even drove down to Vegas! It feels very similar to Jordan in many ways and I’ve loved getting to feel at home. What an incredible time this has been and I’m so grateful for this experience!

Interested in learning more about UJLEP? Here’s some FAQ’s!

What is the U.S.-Jordan Leadership Program? 

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the U.S.-Jordan Leadership Exchange Program (UJLEP) supports a new generation of collaborative, innovative, and value-driven Jordanian leaders who drive success and growth in their economy and civil society while strengthening ties between the U.S. and Jordan.  Selected Fellows with demonstrated high potential in eight key economic and social development disciplines will participate in leadership training in Jordan, travel to the U.S. for a four-week, tailored professional exchange and cultural experience with a U.S. Host Organization. The eight UJLEP disciplines are: business and entrepreneurship; civil society; community engagement; women’s empowerment; diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA); civic participation; public health; and environment and climate change.  

What would this UJLEP Fellow do for me and my organization?

UJLEP Fellows are eager to make meaningful contributions to any work that aligns with your organization’s objectives. They are expected to work 32 hours per week (Monday through Thursday) and the program covers the cost of their labor. Hosting a UJLEP fellow will help build lasting, positive relations between the people of Utah and the people of Jordan. It will also help you look at your own work from a new perspective.

What would be my responsibility as a professional hosting organization?

As a professional hosting organization, your responsibility will be to engage your UJLEP fellow with meaningful projects so they can gain substantive practical experience. IREX asks that host organizations:

  • Provide a primary and secondary supervisor for their fellow
  • Set mutually beneficial goals in a call with their fellow before the program starts
  • Offer onboarding materials and a first-day orientation
  • Support cultural learning and integration
  • Provide learning opportunities
  • Communicate updates to IREX via weekly surveys 

Who are the stakeholders? 

The U.S. Department of State contracts with IREX to implement this exchange program. IREX is an independent nonprofit organization that empowers youth, cultivates leaders, strengthens institutions, and extends access to quality education and information to build a more just, prosperous, and inclusive world.  Founded in 1968, IREX works in over 100 countries worldwide. IREX contracts with Utah Global Diplomacy to assist in identifying and securing professional placements and homestays for UJLEP fellows. Utah Global Diplomacy’s mission is to promote respect and understanding between the people of Utah and other nations. 

If my organization is interested in hosting, what are the next steps? 

Let me know by responding to this email and we’ll get you connected directly with Saif Na’amneh for an introductory call, to see if this placement would be a good fit for all parties. 

Meet Saif – A Fellow from Jordan!
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