Middle East Partnership Initiative
First MEPI Alumni Regional Summit
February 13-14, 2008, Dead Sea, Jordan
“Building a Network of Reformers”
Proposal Writing Guidelines for Working Groups
Working groups will develop a strategy at the summit to address a problem or concern in one or
more countries after returning home. These strategies or plans will lead to delivering a product
or service that leverages access to other talented MEPI Alumni to support change.
These guidelines will provide examples from past groups and give guidance on writing a
successful proposal. Alumni associated with accepted proposals will be provided a travel grant
to the summit.
Choose a Topic
• Identify a concern or a problem area that is important to you
• Identify which thematic track the topic relates to
• Think about approaches that take best advantage of other MEPI alumni that join your group
• Thank about the product or service that you envision resulting from your working group after
The planning committee developed four thematic tracks to elaborate the overall summit theme.
The tracks have three purposes.
• First, they are intended to inspire you and be a guide for you as you identify areas of focus
for working groups.
• Second, they shape and invigorate summit content by encouraging a range of sessions.
• Third, they identify categories in the summit program to help alumni select the working group
that correspond with their interests and skill sets.
The Four Thematic Tracks
Consider which thematic track links your proposal to the summit theme.
Track I: Civic Activism
Proposals address strengthening the role of free and independent media in society, expanding
opportunities for voices and expression in the political process, encouraging access to
education, and promoting accountable and effective electoral systems and government and
Illustrative Example of a Working Group -- “Supporting a Truly Free Internet.” The group would
develop a plan to examine the recent crack down on the blogging community in various MENA
countries and develop a response for judicial and legislative bodies that support decisions to
make it illegal for bloggers to post information on human rights and other civil society topics.
Track II: Women’s Empowerment
Proposals address alumni who are interested in expanding a place for women’s voices to be
heard in their community, government, and business.
Illustrative Example of a Working Group -- “Democracy Salon.” This group will develop a plan
to create a protected women-only environment where volunteers provide resources about
women's health and human rights via word of mouth, flyers, and CDs on where to get
democracy training, as well as information about legal and medical assistance.
Track III: NGO Laws
Proposals address restrictive NGO laws, NGO registration, monitoring, and intimidation.
Illustrative Example of a Working Group -- “NGO Registration in the MENA Region.” Develop
a plan to research legislation or services that support NGO registration in the MENA region
and from there craft recommendations to formally submit to government officials, create
freedom indexes or human right watchdog websites, and/or develop best practices on how
NGOs can successfully operate without government interference.
Track IV: Entrepreneurship
Proposals address strengthening entrepreneurship through civil society networking.
Illustrative Example of a Working Group -- “Market Mentality.” MEPI entrepreneurs develop a
plan to sell goods and/or their own expertise to raise money for an alumni network civic project
they create to provide disadvantaged artisans the job training they need to sustain the viability
of their work.
Craft Your Proposal
Write a Title
• The title should be transparent and alumni should be able to infer the topic of the group
• Avoid clever or catchy titles
• Keep the title brief; 10-word maximum
Define Who Should Participate in the Working Group
Identify the type of alumni that should participate in the proposed group. Think about people
that will best contribute to the working group’s success, specifically, professional interest,
expertise, level of experience, and, if relevant, country of residence.
Give Thought to Questions that Help Focus Thinking
1. What roles do MEPI alumni play in building civil society?
Reaching beyond daily tasks to the greater goals of building understanding and creating solutions
to reform challenges
2. How do MEPI alumni change lives?
Evaluating and documenting outcomes of alumni work and activities on the lives of their
colleagues and communities
3. How do MEPI alumni affect civil society development?
Strengthening the impact alumni can have on economies, institutions, and governments
4. How are regional and local policies affecting MEPI alumni in achieving goals?
Tracking and analyzing developments in local and national policies that affect civil society
5. How can MEPI alumni work more effectively and creatively?
Developing skill-building, resources, and information to help alumni meet their goals
Develop the Abstract
Proposals require a short abstract that provides a description of the working group. The
abstract will be printed in the summit program along with mention of the thematic track selected.
Summit participants should be able to easily identify the topic of the group and its relevance to
their interests by reading the abstract. Consider the following:
• Be concise: use a 50-word maximum
• Create a first sentence that will generate enthusiasm
• Use action verbs whenever possible
• Avoid abbreviations and unfamiliar terminology
• Identify clearly the goal of the working group
• Briefly identify the kind of alumni that will best contribute to the success of the group
Provide a Description for the Proposal Selection Committee
The program description is for the selection panel and is not printed in the program. It conveys
details the proposal selection committee requires for their decision-making.
Describe these elements:
• Significance of the topic
• Intended product or service
Selection Process for Working Group Proposals
Each proposal is reviewed for its relationship to its professional focus and to the track identified.
The most important criterion for selection will be the overall quality of the proposed session.
Consideration will also be given to:
• Relation to summit theme
• Relation to the summit track identified in the proposal
• The intended product or service to result from the working group
The deadline for proposals is November 25, 2007. The planning committee will announce
selected proposals by December 10, 2007.
Note carefully that the individual submitting the proposal must keep their local Alumni
Coordinator informed of changes in their contact information.