The goal of the Iraq Leadership Fellows Program is to contribute to the positive transformation of Iraqi politics and governance by equipping young activists and future political leaders with the skills they need to lead positive change. The ILF further seeks to diminish ethno-sectarian divisions in Iraq by creating a space for future Iraqi leaders to develop relationships and friendships with peers from different backgrounds based on respect and mutual understanding.
The program does this by:
• Training social activists in the skills they need to build effective and sustainable change campaigns. Enable them to develop campaign strategies, identify constituencies of support, build public awareness, and advocate with political elites. Encourage deep reflection so they can improve their leadership styles, and build and maintain support.
• Training young political activists to effectively participate in the political process. Enable them to identify and articulate their values, their political principles, and their theories of change. Educate them in the mechanisms of the Iraqi electoral process. Teach them how to establish a political base, develop constituencies of support, build campaign plans, and effectively compete in elections and serve at MPs.
• Creating a safe space in which Iraqis from across the country and from a wide range of ethno-sectarian backgrounds can come to deeply know and respect one another. Enable Fellows to develop friendships and working relationships with peers similarly committed to pursuing the transformation of Iraq.
• Connecting young Iraqi change-makers to local, national and international networks of influence to enable them to develop pathways to influence.
• Building a cohort of alumni of the Iraq Leadership Fellows Program who can advance their change programs through connections with each other, and through further opportunities for growth and development introduced by Fellowship staff.
GPD Charitable Trust has played a formative role in the launch, development, and success of the Iraq Leadership Fellows Program. John DeBlasio's personal mentorship has enabled me to create a program that meets the needs of young Iraqi changemakers, and to grow it by building partnerships that can ensure its long-term sustainability. The result is an extraordinary program that has, in just 18 months, positively impacted the lives of 70 emerging Iraq leaders.
-Nussaibah Younis, Founder and Director of the Iraq Leadership Fellows Program
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