We have made a lot of progress since our post last week! We have reached out and secured a core group of friends and partners to work with us to complement our expertise by providing strategic advice on different themes. The Center for Democracy and Election Management (CDEM) of American University; the School of Business and Leadership of Dominican University of California; and CEDAW Education Project of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCR). In addition, the League will be supported by a team of experts from Synergy Enterprises and by Judy Duffy, LWVUS First Vice President.

We now know that there will be three regional meetings: the first one will be held in June and the issue will be women’s empowerment; the second meeting will be in early July and will address the basic freedoms of expression and speech, and the third meeting will be immediately after the end of Ramadan and will address issues of transparency and accountability. The countries being discussed to hold the meetings are Qatar, Jordan and Morocco.

Each meeting will bring 125 participants representing the 18 different countries (Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, West Bank/Gaza and Yemen) that are commonly referred to as the Broader Middle East and North Africa countries (BMENA). But, in reality these countries are part of the Middle East, North Africa, the Levant, and the Gulf.

We are all very excited about our progress, and look forward to sharing updates with you regularly!