Minister of Youth Ashraf Sobhy (middle) and Jennifer Rasamimanana, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. embassy - Photo courtesy of the U.S. embassy
CAIRO – 17 June 2021: The Ministry of Youth will adopt three initiatives that will be presented as prototypes by young Egyptian students who participated in the Nation Builders program sponsored by the U.S. embassy in Cairo.
On Wednesday, Minister of Youth Ashraf Sobhy and Jennifer Rasamimanana, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. embassy, attended the closing conference of Nation Builders program in the Civic Education Center in Cairo.
A total of 50 Egyptian students and 20 U.S. ones participated in Nation Builders programs this year, where every seven students will form a group to come up with an initiative relating to one of the U.N. sustainable Development goals over four months. In October, they will deliver their prototypes to a panel of judges and the winning group will travel to the U.S. in February to develop their idea. The U.S. students will come to Egypt in March.
Rasamimanana later told journalists that programs like Nation Builders help participants find their inner strengths and reach their full potential, because “sometimes all you need to succeed is a little push, encouragement, or even some confidence.”
Rasamimanana emphasized that such programs hope that participants will impact many others of their peers in different Egyptian governorates where they would start their own programs.
Other than the winning group, the Ministry of Youth will adopt the ideas of three other groups, Sobhy revealed during his speech. He had seen some of the participating high-school students come on stage and talk about their experience with Nation Builders.
For her part, Rasamimanana said she was impressed with the “energy and enthusiasm” of the students, and that “Egypt is in safe hands” if that is the future generation.
Nation Builders Conference is a U.S. non-profit organization that endeavors to “prepare youth to influence their peers, government, and economy as agents of change at the local through global levels,” according to its website.
Many of the students who came on stage spoke English fluently, reflecting the good education they have received at their schools, but most Egyptian students do not receive that level of education in English language, and therefore may miss an opportunity like Nation Builders.
Recognizing that the language is key, Rasamimanana told Egypt Today other programs by the embassy work on that aspect as well. There is an entire team that works with the Egyptian government to bring up the level of English language amongst as many students as possible by training English teachers across the country and public schools, as well as the English Access Microscholarship Program that has helped thousands of students from disadvantaged populations between 14-17 years old in intensive English programs, according to Rasamimanana.
The minister councilor also said in her speech that the U.S. has invested over $350 million in scholarships and exchange opportunities to more than 23,000 Egyptian and American students and professionals, and over $30 billion since 1978 in infrastructure such as electricity, water, and education.