The national launch of The African Middle Eastern Leadership Project (AMEL) was held this evening in Washington, D.C. at the headquarters of Covington & Burling LLP. Featuring a keynote address by Amb. Dennis Ross and remarks by Sen. Mark Kirk, the launch was an overwhelming success with palpable energy and inspiration filling the room. Coming together around AMEL's mission to empower the region's young leaders to change the face of human rights, the event brought together more than 150 guests, including Members of Congress, diplomats, scholars, business leaders, lawyers, activists and journalists from all over the country as well as the Middle East and Africa.
"We aim to cultivate direct relationships between these [Middle Eastern and African] activists and Senators, Members of Congress, diplomats, scholars, and their American peers. Making sure that the voices of activists who are putting their lives on the line for human rights and liberal democratic values echo loud and clear in the halls of Capitol Hill, and all the way to the board rooms in Silicon Valley."
Mohamed Abubakr, President of AMEL
"You [AMEL] remind me what are the things that I consider to be important. And I hope that everyone who is here will recognize that you're looking at not only a special person, but you're looking at an interesting collection of younger people who've decided they are not going to settle; they are not going to accept. They are not going to wait for the world to change, they are going to change the world."
Amb. Dennis Ross, Counselor & William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Member of the AMEL Board of Advisors
"I told my staff that their job was to get one prisoner a year out of jail... When you think about somebody rotting in a Sudanese prison, a Bosnian prison or a Yemeni prison, getting that person out of jail in a way that reflects our innermost values and feelings about what it means to be a human being on this planet... Since we're in the middle of our [AMEL's] fundraising drive, how much would you pay to get one of your fellow human beings out of a total hell hole? A Lot. And I would say it is worth our time and our effort."
Sen. Mark Kirk, former Senator from Illinois and Member of the AMEL Board of Advisors