On August 24, participants in the Leaders for Democracy Fellows program (LDF) presented their capstone projects to an audience of DCID faculty, staff, and their peers. After four weeks of workshops, field visits, and cultural immersion, the fellows in the program presented their proposals for civic action projects that they will take up when they return to their home countries. The program was run by the Duke Center for International Development (DCID) at the Sanford School of Public Policy, sponsored by World Learning, and funded by the U.S. Department of State’s U.S.- Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).


The action projects covered a range of topics, including first, ways to complement or improve the functioning of their country’s governance and delivery of public services primarily at the local level, by giving a more effective voice to young people, women, and affected communities; and second, improving the business opportunities of such groups. In a number of cases, participants had already been involved with a pilot project that they now intend to replicate or scale up.


The professionalism and quality of each presentation reflected how much participants had benefited from DCID’s expertise. The program’s curriculum emphasized the discipline of policy and problem analysis as a basis for the design and implementation of development projects, a DCID signature. In addition to classroom learning, the program built in meetings with local governments and leaders of civil and entrepreneurial organizations in the Durham and the Research Triangle area. Fellows traveled to Washington, D.C. the next day to begin the second phase of their program, focused on practice-based learning to further develop their civic engagement projects. 


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