AIC’s Middle East civil rights initiative, HAMSA (“Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance”) unites people of conscience to strengthen individual rights in the region. The concept that an individual has inherent rights – regardless of gender, religion, race, etc. – must take root in Middle Eastern societies if genuine democracy and long-term stability are to be achieved in the region. HAMSA’s strategic approach is to leverage the freedom of Americans to improve conditions for indigenous Middle Eastern reformers – specifically by educating the public about civil rights repression, pressuring dictators to alleviate restrictions, and providing encouragement and practical advocacy training to next-generation reformers.
Social Entrepreneurship Training
Outstanding young thinkers and emerging social entrepreneurs identified by programs like the “Dream Deferred” Essay Contest are in turn invited to unique training workshops on individual rights, nonviolent advocacy, leadership, and strategic planning. Based on experience running nearly over a dozen such workshops in the region (including several held despite harassment from local security forces), AIC has produced an 80-page manual called: “Training the Next Generation: A Leadership Curriculum for Young Middle Eastern Social Entrepreneurs.” Graduates of workshops have gone on to launch pioneering projects in their local communities as well as play important leadership roles in “Arab Spring” uprisings across the region.