Young researchers pursue Nobel Prize-winning approach to alleviating poverty in Middle East and North Africa with support from new fellowship

Cairo, Egypt

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa (J-PAL MENA) at the American University in Cairo (AUC) is proud to announce the selection of its first cohort of the MENA Scholars Fellowship. This new fellowship seeks to build a community of regional researchers with technical and hands-on experience in designing and conducting randomised evaluations of poverty reduction programmes.

Supported by Community Jameel and the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, the fellowship provides scholars with a two-year stipend to support their time participating in fellowship programme activities. These activities include working on a randomised evaluation, with mentorship and guidance from J-PAL affiliated professors, becoming a member of the worldwide network of fellows from other J-PAL fellowships, enrolling in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MicroMasters programme in data, economics and development policy, attending training sessions and workshops from J-PAL MENA staff and presenting in J-PAL MENA policy events in the region.

Following its launch in 2022, the fellowship received an overwhelming response with a highly competitive pool of applications from across the MENA region. After a rigorous selection process, six outstanding individuals - listed below in alphabetical order - have been chosen to be part of the programme:

  • Eman Elish (Egypt), associate professor of economics and programme director of undergraduate economics at the British University in Egypt.
  • Noha Mostafa (Egypt), PhD in economics, faculty of economics and political science, Cairo University.
  • Nouf Abushehab (Jordan), doctoral candidate in economics at Trinity College Dublin.
  • Reem Alsukait (Saudi Arabia), assistant professor of community health sciences, King Saud University.
  • Yasmine Hassan (Egypt), assistant professor, faculty of economics and political science, Cairo University.
  • Zakaria Mansouri (Morocco), doctoral candidate in economics at Université Ibn Tofaïl in Kénitra, Morocco.

Ahmed Elsayed, executive director at J-PAL MENA, said: “We are thrilled to announce the first cohort of the MENA Scholars Fellowship, representing a diverse group of talented individuals. The rigorous selection process for the MENA Scholars Fellowship has resulted in the selection of six exceptional fellows who have demonstrated their commitment to academic excellence and research. We are excited to support them on their journey and look forward to witnessing the impactful contributions they will make to the region and beyond."

George Richards, director of Community Jameel, said: “To fight poverty effectively and at scale requires a cadre of researchers who can conduct rigorous experiments of poverty alleviation initiatives, and ensure policymaking and programme design are informed by evidence. Poverty is a global challenge, and to tackle it we need researchers from – and based in – countries around the world, bringing diverse experiences and perspectives to bear. That is why Community Jameel, with our commitment to equity in science, is proud to be supporting the J-PAL MENA Scholars Fellowship and to be welcoming this first cohort of researchers.”  

Noura Selim, executive director of the Sawiris Foundation, said: “According to Sawiris Foundation Strategy (2023-2028), we work as a philanthropic organisation on funding projects based on scientific evidence to maximise our impact and achieve two main goals of reducing multidimensional poverty and empowering change agents. Thus, MENA Scholars Fellowship becomes a vital investment that provides opportunities for potential impactful researchers in order to enrich scientific evidence and bridge the gap between science and development programmes designs, which is aspired to help us design and implement more effective and comprehensive development programmes that reduce poverty. We cherish our ongoing partnership with J-PAL MENA at AUC and Community Jameel. Congratulations to the researchers who received the fellowships, and looking forward to seeing their research contributions in the development field.”

Related announcements