FOSTERING EXCELLENCE IN THE ARAB WORLD—AND BEYOND

"Finding role models was a challenge at the beginning, because using role models and one’s story to empower others is such a new concept in the region. Most of the time we at Arab Excellence focus on the end result. But in this region, we don't want to talk about our achievements or story—because it means you're showing off. We have to change this mindset because, at the end of the day, some members of the young generations end up getting inspired by the wrong role models such as criminals or terrorist guys who lead them to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS."

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NO MORE CAMPS: SONIA BEN ALI ON URBAN REFUGEES

"Most refugees now live in cities, yet the humanitarian community struggles to adapt to this reality.  This is why we are building a "Best Practices Network," which is a space where NGOs working with urban refugees share information on successful programs and mentor each other to replicate them."

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LINH DOAN ON EMPOWERING YOUTH IN VIETNAM

"We are addressing two main issues. First, in Vietnam, there's no program in the summer for college students, so mostly they just go back home. It's not like in the U.S. when you have summer school program or internships—there's nothing to do there. There aren’t even many student clubs in universities."

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FROM THE HEART: SPANDANA CHILDREN’S HOME

"One day we found an abandoned girl on the roadside—she was a mentally challenged child who could not speak. This child was on the streets for three days, abandoned by her family. She didn’t have anyone to take care of her; she was very dirty and didn’t have toilet training. We picked up the child and took her to one of the homes run for mentally challenged children"

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DANIEL ROSE ON U.S. CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

"The private, for-profit prison industry today runs 130 private prisons containing 157,000 beds, with some 6% of all state prisoners and 16% of federal prisons. They take in some $4 billion a year, with great profits. And they spend millions a year lobbying fiercely in support of candidates who favor longer minimum mandatory sentences, stricter anti-parole regulations, more and longer imprisonment of anyone for any reason."

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A MONTH OF GIVING: RAMADAN, PHILANTHROPY, AND HUMANITARIANISM

"Through interfaith initiatives, we are able to serve a wider base of beneficiaries of all different backgrounds, strengthening the humanitarian community, and creating harmonious bonds that seek to serve others. This is particularly beneficial to individual communities of each organization, as they will also be connected to groups of other faiths and seal social gaps that prevented this from before."

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ERADICATING PARASITIC DISEASES IN ETHIOPIA

"NALA first implemented their holistic program in the city of Mekelle, Ethiopia, in 2009, and carried it out there for four years. The results have been dramatic. Evaluations have demonstrated a steep and sustained reduction in prevalence levels of intestinal worms and schistosomiasis throughout Mekelle. In 2009, the rate of infection in Mekelle was at 40 percent. In 2012, the rate of infection had dropped to 5 percent and by 2014, the rate was down to 2 percent..."

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EDUCATIONAL RELIEF IN THE SYRIAN CONFLICT ZONE

"By now we are all too familiar with the nightmarish figures: 3.9 million displaced Syrians, with thousands more fleeing every day, are in exile in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt, where they see no prospects for returning home in the near future; have few opportunities to restart their lives; and in many cases, struggle to survive."

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VOLUNTOURISM: THE NGO PERSPECTIVE

"In the end, there is a lot more all of us can do in the development sector to be more accountable, more informed, and more nuanced. Volunteers need to be more critical of organizations, and to fundamentally alter their discourse and attitudes about volunteering abroad."

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