2018 Action Project – The Link: Powering US-Egypt Relations


Hayley Rose, Shady Saleh, Ahmed Mostafa, and RJ Johnson

The Challenge

Today’s global issues are pressing, complicated, and interconnected to a greater degree than the world has ever seen. And yet, future global leaders often learn in insulated educational environments, lacking real engagement with scholars, policy leaders, and students from the countries with which they seek to engage.

By connecting tomorrow’s leaders via an online foreign policy community, The Link seeks to facilitate cross cultural dialogue, foster mutual respect, and equip future foreign policy leaders with the nuanced knowledge and tools they will need to solve critical international issues. The Link believes in creating a more effective, knowledgeable, and innovative foreign policy community through practical and collaborative learning.

Project Overview

The project will focus on the development and use of three main components in order to achieve its goals:

  1. Webinar Trainings

Participating students will enroll in monthly training webinars, led by international practitioners on identified topics of interest to the student audience. Students will learn from these experts in seminar-style webinars that allow for a visual presentation, along with quizzes, Q&A, and written and verbal class discussion. Seminars will be accompanied by recommended reading materials and culminate in a certificate of completion for all students who attend and pass each   session.

  1. Scholarly Video Series

Each month, students will have the opportunity to vote on which topic they would like to see featured in that month’s video series. Based upon the identified student interest, one   Egyptian and one US scholar will be tapped to deliver a compelling, short-form video brief on the issue for publication on the website. Beyond hearing varied perspectives from   highly-respected foreign policy scholars, students will also have the opportunity to respond   to these scholars’ arguments via written publication on the website.

  1. Collaborative Policy Briefs

The Link’s Policy Brief section will pair one Egyptian student and one American student   together to collaboratively research, write, and publish policy briefs on issues of mutual   interest throughout the academic year. Contributors will be selected via a competitive   application process that seeks to pair students based on their expressed topical interests   and goals. Each pair will be required to publish at least two papers per year.

The Goal

The Link aims to create a more effective and innovative international community by equipping the next generation of policy leaders with knowledge and tools to better serve their careers. In doing so, The Link will focus on three core components of audience engagement: capacity building, professional development, and community building.

The Shafik Gabr Foundation 32 The Shafik Gabr Foundation 2

Population Served

The Link will be targeted toward university students in relevant degree programs, student groups, and other networks in both US and Egyptian higher education institutions. Expert contributors to the website will be  recruited from diverse foreign policy backgrounds for the benefit of the student audience, including think  tank scholars, academic professors, practitioners, and policy makers.

Project Milestones

Phase 1: Recruitment

Recruitment of content contributors (scholars, practitioners, etc.) for video and webinar series begins.

Phase 2: Marketing

Website design period and marketing push to relevant student groups and degree programs.

Phase 3: Policy Brief Applications Open 

Applications accepted for policy brief contributors.

Phase 4: Pilot Program Launched 

Webinar series, video series, and policy brief contributions begin. Student feedback solicited   throughout.

Expected Outcome

  • Capacity building through experiential learning that includes both consumption and contribution of knowledge.
  • Demonstrable professional development to support students’ career trajectories through knowledge sharing, publication opportunities, and substantive training.
  • Authentic, meaningful community building that stems from critical discourse, mutual respect, and shared learning experiences.

Furthering the Foundation’s Mission

By bringing together young foreign policy scholars around critical international issues, The Link contributes directly to the mission of the Shafik Gabr Foundation. The Link combines individual contributions with community learning to emphasize the role that each citizen must play in building an international community and affecting real and lasting change. By facilitating substantive dialogue between the US and Egyptian  communities – both students and experts alike – The Link will foster a community of mutual respect that also  equips students with nuanced understanding of the philosophy, history, and priorities of their counterparts.  Armed with the vital skills and relationships, these students are better placed to contribute to constructive and creative international solutions – in line with the mission of the Shafik Gabr Foundation.