The American University in Cairo
Samar Abdel Rahman, a graduate of the first Leadership for Education and Development Program (LEAD) cohort at The American University in Cairo (AUC), is one of only 25 African women leaders to receive a Moremi Initiative for Leadership Empowerment and Development (MILEAD) Fellowship in Ghana.
MILEAD fellowship is an African initiative aiming to enhance, develop and monitor emerging female leaders in Africa. Abdel Rahman has been selected to represent Egypt in MILEAD fellowship as the only fellow from North Africa this year. MILEAD Fellows are chosen through a highly competitive process based on their involvement in a wide range of social and professional endeavors. The selection of Abdel Rahman in a highly competitive field serves to recognize her remarkable role and accomplishments as a community leader and her commitment to social justice in Egypt.
“My ambition and passion for social work guided me to apply for the fellowship, so I can take my ideas to the next level,” said Abdel Rahman. “I worked for one year as intern in CARE International in Egypt, in which I gained a great experience on civil work and projects implementation and management,” she said. In her free time, she participates in, and organizes activities for, small emerging NGOs.
Abdel Rahman and the other MILEAD Fellows received intensive training in Ghana and participated afterward in an online course covering project management, resources mobilization, leadership and networking. “During three weeks training in Ghana, we met with number of social activists, politicians like former presidents of Ghana, parliament representatives and ministers as well as professors, who shared with us their experience and dreams for Africa,” she said.
According to Abdel Rahman, the fellowship gave her the opportunity to learn more about other African countries, beginning with an understanding of their rich cultures and eventually, a deeper awareness of the contemporary challenges and opportunities they face. She was also able to establish Pan-African solidarity with the other MILEAD fellows and cultivate strong networks with other women who are the next generation of African leaders.
“AUC has been my gate to the world. At AUC, I was exposed to different cultures and activities that shaped who I am today,” noted Abdel Rahman. “The LEAD scholarship believed in every one of us and built our confidence, so we were ready to challenge limits and pursue our dreams. The time I spent in AUC was full of good and hard moments that honed my strengths and my determination,” she added.
Abdel Rahman intends to pursue her graduate education in Globalization and Development Studies at Maastricht University in the Netherlands where she received a full scholarship. She has also been working on a plan to address religious conflict in Upper Egypt, an initiative that aims to create a tolerant society that accepts diversity and religious differences. “Children are the main focus of the initiative which is based on the concept that today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Abdel Rahman.