In the News
Iraq Leadership Fellows Program
In June 2018, GPD hosted its third three-day seminar as part of the Iraq Leadership Fellows Program at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani.
The Fellows Program’s primary focus is to develop and educate young politically and socially engaged Iraqis who are keen to positively shape the future of their country and shape Iraq’s next generation of leaders. These future leaders were given the opportunity to learn cutting edge techniques in campaigning and community organizing to develop, refine and launch their own political or social campaigns with extensive mentoring and support. The seminar is intended to foster an environment of sustainability for each fellows’ success in building long lasting, transformative social and political movements.
As a result of their efforts, the Fellows are now actively engaged in a broad range of advocacy campaigns including electoral and education reform, Yazidi political representation, controlling underage marriage, and vocational training.
Northwestern University’s MENA Co-Founder and Director named dean of Tulane University’s School of Liberal Arts
In June 2018, Co-Founder and Director of GPD partner Northwestern University’s Middle East and North African Studies (MENA) program, Brian Edwards, announced his departure in becoming the dean of Tulane University’s School of Liberal Arts.
John DeBlasio said “It was only through Brian’s incredible leadership that the Northwestern MENA program grew from a simple idea and a small faculty to become an internationally recognized program with an interdisciplinary PhD certificate. We wish him and his wife the very best at Tulane and hope they know just how lucky they are to have someone as committed as Brian.”
West Point Cadets visit Army Radio FM
In June 2018, GPD proudly hosted West Point Cadets at Army Radio FM, a counter pro-Russia radio and online broadcasting program that serves 24/7 in meeting the information, news, and entertainment needs of the American and Ukrainian men and women on the front lines in Ukraine who are defending freedom, democracy, and serving to protect innocent lives.
Welcoming West Point Cadets to Army Radio FM is a strong example of GPD’s venture patriotic philanthropy at work — and our commitment to the belief in fostering civic organizations and programs that support youth development.
At West Point, John Deblasio inducted into Douglas MacArthur Society
In May 2018, GPD’s Founder and Executive Director, John DeBlasio, was honored by the West Point Association of Graduates’ Lifetime Giving Societies and was inducted into the Douglas MacArthur Society in recognition of his unwavering commitment to giving back to West Point consistently and significantly over the course of his lifetime.
Honorees are the cornerstone to the Academy’s and WPAOG’s success. Under John’s leadership, GPD has continued to support the Center for the Study of Civil-Military Operations Fund, the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering Academy Scholars Fund, and the Club Sports Endowment.
Please join GPD in congratulating Noura Hourani, Arabic Editor for GPD’s partner organization, Syria Direct. This month, Noura was awarded the Women in News Editorial Leadership Award from the World Association for Newspapers and News Publishers. This annual accolade recognizes an ‘exemplary contribution of an Editor to her newsroom – and under her leadership the contribution of her newspaper – to society.’
Syria Direct is a non-profit journalism organization that produces timely, credible coverage of Syria while training a small group of highly talented, aspiring Syrian and American journalists in professional news-gathering and accurate, in-depth reporting. John DeBlasio is a proud co-founder and supporter of Syria Direct.
Justin Schuster, Managing Director of Syria Direct said “We could not be more proud of Noura’s accomplishments and steadfast commitment to the wellbeing of the people of Syria. This is a small win in the larger fight in bringing the atrocities taking place in Syria to light. We are honored to have GPD’s continued support and generosity by our side.”
The Seattle Institute Celebrates its Fifth Anniversary
In July 2016, NPH USA celebrated the fifth graduating class of the Seattle Institute. The Seattle Institute was founded in 2011 to offer the most promising young NPH leaders a deeper and more advanced leadership formation opportunity. Each year six students are selected to spend ten months in the Seattle area, living with host families, enrolling in a full-time English program, and participating in a comprehensive leadership development program. They return to their home countries better prepared to share their talents with NPH and their local community.
To date, 26 young leaders have graduated from the program. Here are their profiles: NPH 5 year Anniversary Stories 2016.
Ambassador Gary Grappo joins the Center for Middle East Studies at Denver University
In January 2016 Ambassador Gary Grappo joined the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies as a Distinguished Fellow. He came to this position from a distinguished career as a diplomat, serving as U.S. Ambassador to Oman, Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Saudi Arabia, Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Director of Regional Affairs for the State Department’s Near East Bureau in Washington, and Envoy and Head of Mission for The Quartet in Jerusalem.
Since starting his new role, Ambassador Grappo has written a series of articles on topics ranging from Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic moves against Lebanon, the fight against ISIS, the escalation of the Saudi-Iranian rivalry, and the future of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations
He will be a featured speaker at a one-day symposium on “US Foreign Policy after the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Changing Geopolitics of the Middle East,” co-sponsored by the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the University of South Florida.
Syria Direct Receives Six-Month Grant from U.S. State Department
The U.S. State Department will provide a $237,000 grant to Syria Direct over a six month period, from March through September 2016, for the third phase of their journalism training project. GPD will provide an additional $60,000 over the same period.
To date, the Syria Direct journalism training project has trained 45 Syrian journalists. This new grant will allow the organization to train an additional twelve aspiring Syrian journalists and match them with six full-time Syrian reporters who will serve as mentors and five American linguists/reporters who will work with the Syrian staff to bring their reporting to an English-speaking audience.
The team will create short, ideologically objective news products that focus on unreported events within Syria, as well as longer analyses about trends and significant events which will be made available through an online platform to other news outlets.
Gads Hill Center Teen Connection Student, A Future Engineer
Erick Villegas, a 16-year-old living in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, was referred to Gads Hill Center’s Teen Connection program through his school, Chicago Bulls College Prep. He began as a shy student; Erick didn’t partake in activities or interact with other Teen Connection members. However, as the school year progressed, Erick became interested in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities offered in the program.
Gads Hill Center offers a spectrum of out-of-school time programming for students of all ages to provide a safe learning environment, as well as opportunities to explore new interests. Teen Connection exposes students to STEM fields as potential career choices and encourages them to apply for college programs through campus visits, ACT preparation, and financial aid workshops.
Since 2013, GPD Charitable Trust has been a generous supporter of all of Teen Connection’s STEM-focused enrichment activities. Through these initiatives, Erick discovered his interest in engineering. Since he joined Teen Connection, Erick has represented Gads Hill Center in the FIRST Technology Challenge robotics competition, become more outgoing, and has emerged as a team player among his fellow students. The once timid student now actively recruits his friends to join Teen Connection, and wants to pursue a career in engineering after graduating from high school.
Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos Partners with iLEAP for Youth Leadership Training
In January 2016 iLEAP welcomed their most recent cohort of young, emerging leaders from seven countries in the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) community. These 12 young people were selected from a highly competitive pool of 65 applicants. They spent the first four weeks of their visit participating in the iLEAP Global Leadership program learning more about leadership, social entrepreneurship, and team-building. The group graduated from the program on February 5th.
“This group of young people really represent the future of NPH and, in fact, the future of Latin America! It has been a pleasure to work with them and be a part of their growth as leaders.” (Britt Yamamoto, iLEAP Executive Director)
iLEAP is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire and renew social leaders and global citizens through integrated leadership programs that ignite hope and transformation in the world.