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JPAL Middle East and North Africa at AUC Launches Fellowship to Support Emerging Development Researchers

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa at the School of Business, The American University in Cairo (J-PAL MENA at AUC)  announced today the launch of the MENA Scholars Fellowship and opened the call for applications for the fellowship’s first cohort. The fellowship provides researchers from or based in the MENA region with opportunities to build their technical skills and experience to design and conduct randomized evaluations of social development programs and policies to reduce poverty and improve development outcomes.

Alison Fahey, executive director at J-PAL MENA, said: “We are thrilled to launch the MENA Scholars Fellowship today. Ensuring the expertise and perspective of researchers in the region helps shape our questions. It will strengthen the impact evaluations we conduct and we hope the fellowship will enrich the community of development economists working in MENA countries.

We look forward to welcoming the first cohort of fellows next year and integrating them into J-PAL’s work across the region.”

Supported by Community Jameel and the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, the fellowship provides scholars with a two-year stipend to invest their time in the fellowship program activities. These activities include working on a randomized evaluation with a J-PAL affiliate, mentorship and guidance from J-PAL affiliated professors. Scholars will also become members of the worldwide network of fellows from other J-PAL fellowships, enroll in MIT MicroMasters courses, attend training sessions and workshops by J-PAL MENA staff and present in J-PAL MENA policy events in the region.

George Richards, director of Community Jameel, said: “Through randomized evaluations of development interventions and applying the results to inform policymaking, J-PAL has time and again demonstrated the importance of rigorous evidence to making people’s lives better. At Community Jameel, we believe that researchers in and from the communities affected by these interventions and policies need to be contributing to this work, and so we are excited that the J-PAL MENA Scholars Fellowship will support more early career researchers from and based in this region to participate at the heart of the great work that J-PAL does.”

Noura Selim, executive director of the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, said: “We are pleased to support such a crucial scholarship program, the MENA Scholars Fellowship as part of our support to the Egypt Impact Lab, to be able to create a new community of region-based researchers and equip them with the tools and the hands-on experience in conducting rigorous research.” Selim added: “We at Sawiris Foundation believe in the power of evidence and data in guiding our decisions in the development field and we strive to invest more in evidence-based programs as the era of developing programs just using good intentions in development has to end. Therefore, equipping a team of researchers with the skills and information was not only a necessity but a need if we want more profound decisions and more efficient poverty reduction programs.”

The fellowship is offered to committed researchers who are fluent in both Arabic and English, can demonstrate quantitative and research skills and are either currently pursuing a Ph.D. or have already completed a Ph.D. in economics or a related field from the MENA region or affiliated with a MENA academic institution. Interested applicants can consult the fellowship webpage for more details and should complete an application form by December 31, 2022. The first cohort of fellows is set to be selected in early 2023.

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Founded in 1919, The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a leading English-language, American- accredited institution of higher education and center of the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the Arab world. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions and study abroad programs. 

The University offers 39 undergraduate, 52 master’s and two PhD programs rooted in a liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically and find creative solutions to conflicts and challenges facing both the region and the world. 

An independent, nonprofit, politically non-partisan, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States.