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The American MidEast Leadership Network 501 (c) (3) is a not-for-profit organization that aims to empower and help the Arab American community in New York City and bridge community members, professionals, educators and philanthropists from the Middle East and the United States through educational programs, helpful services and cultural exchanges.
AMLN's Current Work:
As an organization, AMLN seeks to address the misconceptions that abound between the United States and the Middle East through both domestic and international programs.Domestic Family Services and Programs: Community Services and Programs
Our Community Services and Programs include a wide variety of collaborative efforts that aim to empower the local Arab American community. AMLN provides family conferencing sessions to address student issues with his or her peers or school administration. Our organization offers youth tutoring in collaboration with the Razi School in Queens to improve student performance in school as well. Sessions meet everyday after-school and in this past year alone, over 70 students participated and six volunteers lent their tutoring skills to the program. For adults, AMLN is currently teaming up with HANAC to develop a comprehensive ESL program for 2008. 30 community members are already registered for classes. In addition to literacy and tutoring programs, AMLN will also be collaborating with the NYU Cancer Institute for free breast cancer screening in April, 2008, for women in Astoria.Immigration Services and Programs
Our Immigration Services aim to familiarize the Arab American community in NYC with the legal and immigration process in the United States. AMLN offers immigration application assistance, case management, immigration consultations, and in some instances, legal representation in immigration courts and in front of board of immigration appeals. In 2007, AMLN helped 150 clients, both individuals and families, with immigration cases. In addition to immigration services, AMLN hosts a free immigration workshop in Astoria every Thursday that provides an open forum for question and answer sessions. Our workshops help an average of ten Arab families per session.Social Services
AMLN understands the difficulty immigrant communities encounter when trying to navigate a new environment. Our organization therefore finds it necessary to provide social service assistance to the local community. These services include benefits applications, interpretation services and referrals. In 2007, AMLN assisted approximately 25 families with social service assistance. AMLN also collaborated with SCO Family of Services in a pilot program that recruits foster care families in the Arab American community. Our organization assisted in identifying foster care families for four children in 2007. AMLN also works extensively with HANAC and Century for Families for client ACS matters and in developing programs that do not yet exist in the local community.Education and Leadership Programs
The Education and Leadership Programs include the Scholarship Program, which awards annual scholarships for continuing education to students of Arab descent. The recipients of the AMLN Scholarship Program are outstanding individuals who have shown a deep involvement in the Arab American community. This scholarship rewards their past efforts and recipients will organize events at their respective schools to promote and share Arab American heritage. Three exceptional students received awards for 2008.
AMLN also collaborated with law enforcement representatives such as the FBI and the NYPD for the Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI), which is a coexistence and conflict resolution program that gives youth a platform to voice their concerns about current issues facing our country in general, and New York City in particular. AMLN hosted four town-hall meetings that attracted over 150 high-school students and cosponsored additional town-hall meetings with Arab American law enforcement officials. The last YLI event took place at the Razi School in September, 2007, with over 200 students in attendance. It was an open forum with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Our organization also sponsors additional conferences, seminars and lectures throughout the year to address current topics of interest to the Arab American community in addition to our regular programs. AMLN assists domestic students with higher education applications and over 150 students from the five boroughs received help in 2007. For foreign students wishing to study and experience American culture in the United States, AMLN offers guidance in identifying the proper schools, help with the admissions process and assistance with the student visa procedure. 30 foreign students received our assistance last year.
Our organization maintains a database of internships for current students in all fields in New York City as well. AMLN partners with such organizations as Lutheran Medical Center, Health Plus, the New York Immigration Coalition, the Arab American Association of New York, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and others to secure relevant positions for student applicants. Six students obtained meaningful internship positions in 2007 through our services.International Programs: Youth Leadership Exchange
Internationally, our programs provide exciting leadership opportunities. The Youth Leadership Exchange gives American students the unique opportunity to explore Middle Eastern culture. Through intensive two-week programs, where American students travel to the Middle East for active dialogue with students from the region, AMLN challenges them to confront their preconceptions and openly discuss cultural, societal and political concerns. Our Youth Leadership Exchange is providing American students the tools they need to address important international concerns, open their eyes to new perspectives and discover their roles as citizen ambassadors. The exchange program instills in our participants the value and importance of constructive communication, while addressing the detriment of ignorance or fear.
Last year's exchange to Syria was a phenomenal success. A group of American students traveled to Damascus to engage Syrian student counterparts in dialogue, skill building exercises, presentations and discussions while participating in excursions, meetings with educational, religious, political and cultural leaders, and social outings. Our participants learned extensively about each other's countries, cultures, religions and social lives by visiting historical sites, interacting in meaningful dialogue and meeting in formal conference settings.
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