TACOMA, Washington — The National Council for U.S.-Arab Relations is a nonprofit based in Washington, committed to improving U.S.-Arab relations. The organization focuses on U.S. foreign policy towards states in the Arab League. Some of these countries have high poverty rates and ongoing conflicts. Meanwhile, other Arab League states bring in immigrant labor prone to poverty. Either way, the current U.S. foreign policy misses the mark in lessening these state’s cyclical and conflict-born poverty. Many argue that the U.S even exacerbates poverty and conflict in the region. Examples include harmful sanctions on Iran and the past wars with Iraq. The National Council for U.S.-Arab Relations, however, attempts to train the next generation of leaders and innovators. The Council informs people about the importance of education, empathy and experience. The founder, Dr. John Anthony, calls these “prisms for perspective,” to avoid repeating foreign policy mistakes that worsen poverty.
The National Council for US-Arab Relations Programs
- The Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference – In 1992, the Council began hosting an annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference. Here, world specialists gather to discuss the intersection of U.S. and Arab foreign policy concerns. This conference is the largest of its kind. At the end of the conference, priorities for new foreign policy remain fresh in leaders’ minds and often influence their next decisions.
- Model Arab League – Much like Model United Nations, Model Arab League is a program that teaches students diplomatic strategy and allows an inside look into the process of policy-making. In some instances, students even reach resolutions to real-world issues.
- Internships – The Council also connects students from all over the world with internships in Washington D.C. at think tanks, government institutions and more. These internships provide professional work experience, academic seminars and site visits at key policy-making institutions.
- Fellowships – The Council offers both the Joseph J. Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies and the HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Fellows Program which fund travel to the Arab region. Prioritizing effective and well-informed interactions, the Council created these opportunities so upcoming U.S.leaders could truly understand the countries affected before intervening in government, business and international aid.
- Study Abroad Opportunities – Like the above fellowships, the Council offers study abroad opportunities at Arab-American Language Institute in Morocco and Lebanese American University in Beirut. Important to diplomacy and poverty-prevention is communication. These two opportunities focus on Arabic language acquisition. The programs, funded by the Council, allow students interested in joining nonprofits, to gain proper communication capability with the groups they attempt to serve.
- Congressional & Public Affairs Briefings – Most effective in protecting the U.S. foreign affairs budget and aiding the world’s poor are the Council’s congressional and public affairs briefings. These free talks include world experts who engage in a dialogue with participating representatives and anyone else who wants to join. The briefings provide a safe space for government, business and individual actors to interact and learn. Previous briefings include “Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Opportunity: Taking Stock of an Extraordinary Moment in the Saudi Arabian-United States Business Relationship” and “Energy, Economic and Defense Dynamics During a Time of Pandemic.”
How the National Council Programs Address Poverty
When dealing with a region devastated by U.S. military influences, any following decisions must acknowledge on-the-ground realities and the United States’ role in it all. Therefore, the National Council for U.S.-Arab Relations funds experiences which will make future leaders more knowledgeable and moral. However, the Council also provides tools for current leaders to learn more. Essentially, the National Council for U.S.-Arab Relations forces people in power to interact with research that shows links between conflict and poverty as well as projections of how to avoid recreating these situations when maintaining U.S. security or engaging in international business. For the U.S. Foreign Affairs budget or business efforts to help the world’s poor, such institutions must practice well-intentioned interventions. Such policies are exactly what the National Council for U.S.-Arab Relations aims to foster through its programs.
– Rory Davis