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#InspireMENA – A story telling series to support on the ground successful project in MENA

Glad to announce on behalf of +SocialGood and EcoMENA the launch of #InspireMENA a Story Telling Series to support Successful on the ground projects in #Sustainable #Development in #MENA #Arabic #English #French – share your story or help us share others’ stories!

Over 350 million people live in MENA and share Arabic as a common language. To date, there is very little literature in Arabic about sustainable development in general and specifically on the United Nation’s new global goals and the associated agencies and initiatives. More than half of that population is below 25 and is currently going through a lot in terms of political, economic, and social change. Despite all of this, those young people are innovating and making positive change in their communities. It is of utmost importance to support such impact with credible information, more visibility for success stories, and better communication tools.

Today we are excited to announce a special partnership between EcoMENA, a volunteer-driven organization working to raise environmental awareness and foster sustainable development in MENA, and +SocialGood, an international community where digital innovators, thought leaders, social entrepreneurs, change makers, and global citizens come together to share world-changing ideas and catalyze action.

The #InspireMENA Initiative will work to raise awareness and magnify impact on sustainable development issues and projects throughout the MENA region. Each #InspireMENA story will be shared in both English and Arabic on both platforms. Professionals, volunteers and writers are invited through both networks to contribute to identifying stories, writing and translating articles.

What we’re looking for in an #InspireMENA Story

Describe the outputs/outcomes from your story (qualitative and quantitative).
What makes this a real success story? What change have you contributed to?
To which Global Goal(s) would you link the impact(s) of this story?
What resources did you use and where did they come from?
Who were your partners in implementation? Who was the Champion?
What would you do differently if you can go back in time (lessons learned)?
Does your story trigger similar stories within your community/country/globe?
Sustainable Development is about justice and inclusiveness. How do you tell your story in light of this?
How do you measure your impact now and in the future?
Give us a ‘Call for Action’ statement to show how relevant this is to the reader.
How #Inspire MENA started

As two entities committed to supporting sustainable development, empowering youth, sharing knowledge and promoting success stories and role models; EcoMENA and +SocialGood are coming together to collaborate on ‘Story Telling for Sustainable Development’. This was initiated by the +SocialGood Connector in Jordan, Ruba Al-Zu’bi, after her participation in the +SocialGood Connectors and Advisors gathering in Washington D.C. – July 2015. Through this partnership, Ruba and Salman Zafar, Founder of EcoMENA, hope to mobilize a story telling campaign in Jordan and the MENA region around impactful and innovative projects and initiatives that advance sustainable development.

To get engaged and share a story, please contact:

Salman Zafar: / or

Ruba Al-Zu’bi:

Raleigh and the Jordanian dream!

I have never expected such a great welcoming impactful nature from Raleigh, NC. The people, the space, the events, the signs, the streets, the mindset… all contribute to the brain/talent attraction and development.

I was honored to meet Governor Bev Perdue during the grand opening for the North Carolina Museum for Natural Science. The City, People, Streets, Children, Cultural diversity, food, green products, music, all were there. Raleigh people say they never witnessed such a festival here before. It is all about science and growing the talent! It is amzing to see how the efforts came together to get this big Science center and huge event done. Many special features like having the chance to watch real scientists at their labs are quite special to this museum.

Governor Perdue is a great supporter of green economy and having met some of her team members, I can tell these people are making a difference.

I enjoyed being pampered by the US Eisenhower Fellows from NC (Jean Davis, Don Hobart and Rob Burns) as well as their colleagues, contacts, relatives, etc. What a City! It reminded me with the Arab/Jordanian hospitality and genuine nature. Despite the multi-cultural climate, it only added to its openness and intergative image. Eisenhower Fellowships need to continue recruiting more Fellows like those!

Everything here is oreinted towards supporting the ‘knowledge-based economy’ goal and all resources are directed in that direction. Allow me to quote the wise kind Charles Hayes – President and CEO of Research Traingle Regional Partnership when I asked for his advice for Jordan’s big dream of pursuing knowledge-based economy: become a Country that “grows talent, retains talent and recruits talent”.

I got inspired indeed by the streamlined efforts towards achieveing this in North Calorina/Raleigh. I hope Jordan my beloved Country would one day build on all its great human resources and strong well to optimize the impact of its talents.

Marked efforts and valued partnership between USGBC and JordanGBC

To reiterate Jordan Green Building Council’s commitment to the successful and strategic partnership with the US Green Building Council, issues of  mutual interest were discussed with Jennivine Kwan, Vice President of International Operations. Ms Kwan has been a great supporter and mentor for Jordan GBC throughout the founding phase. She deeply and gladly welcomed teh official announcement of the new milestone for Jordna GBC at the World GBC ‘the established status’.

Jordan GBC and USGBC are cooperating on activities related to education and training on LEED and also on policy advocacy and visioning the International LEED framework.

Maggie Comstock shared her experience within the USGBC in policy advocacy and impact made on legislations and Standards.  Jordan GBC is working with other NGOs to strengthen the rold of Civil Society Organizations in policy-making and we know the road is still long.

Another active green lady in Philadelphia is Heather Blakeslee from US GBC Deleware Valley Chapter. She highlighted their excellent working relations with USEPA Region 3 and with other stakeholders in the area. She explained the efforts with Schools and also the Impact Map they are developing online for their members. Such efforts were also acknowledged in my meeting with the USGBC indicating that this Chapter is one of the most active in the US.

Green Build 2013 may take place in Philadelphia… news are music to our ears in Amman… we hope to get the 2 Philadelphia s to meet in the Green Built Environment.

Takeaways and follow-ups on the above issues already initaited with Jordan GBC!

Green Communities ToolKit – let’s do it in Arabic!

My meeting with an old friend who has contributed through her work at US EPA Region 3 and via the US – Jordan cooperation in building capacity in Jordan on various issues including economic instruments for environmental management. Francesca DiCosmo continues to work on making info available to the wider public through tools that are simple, efficient and felxible.

The Green Communities website is one of those tools.

Takeaways, probably this statement will appear a lot on my blog… sustainability mainstreaming needs a Champion (or more) and a lot of staleholders’ engagement (genuine type)…  it is a change from within towards bettering the lives of people.

Follow-ups: yes I posted the call for Volunteers to translate some of the Green Communitities Toolkit content to Arabic and we already got two! Let’s have it in Arabic too!

Planting Seeds… Growing Lives

My first official meeting at Philadelphia was with a remarkable Eisenhower Fellow (Maitreyi Roy). She is the Senior Vice President of Programs and Planning at PHS. Ms Roy has not only provided an overview of the greening efforts in Philly but also contributed to introducing many of the key players in the urban sustainability and water issues. So proud of this US Fellow and wish her all the best in her green development journey.

Takeaways, yes, to succeed in sustainability one needs to link to development and socio-economic benefits and needs. PHS has demonstrated the importance of greening to re-attracting population to community neigborhoods and to increasing property value for further business development. NGOs and CBOs continue to be a key consitiuents in the recipe! Well done! Jordan’s NGOs community is on the right direction – we just need to do more on the value proposotion of environment to development sectors.