US Higher Education Delegation Travels to North Africa

June 1, 2012

Contact: Vanessa Zuabi
Associate Director, PNB Secretariat
The Aspen Institute
+1 202 957 9030 |

Washington, DC, June 1, 2012 – A delegation of US universities, colleges, NGOs, and foundations will travel to North Africa to meet with representatives of higher education institutions June 2-9. The Aspen Institute led delegation will discuss new education partnerships between the US and countries in North Africa.

The delegation will include representatives from MIT, Babson College, Indiana State University, Nova Southeastern University, American University, University of Texas, Austin, Wayne State University, University of Minnesota, Soliya, and the US Department of State.

The delegation will meet with local universities, technical institutes, NGOs, private sector companies and government officials in order to discuss how partnerships can be facilitated to support entrepreneurship and private sector skills development among youth. Such partnerships are key to addressing high unemployment levels in the region, which has been a key focus of US and local government, business leaders and civil society particularly in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

“The need for a college education is greater today than ever before, whether someone lives in Orlando, Florida or Rabat, Morocco,” said Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, who will be joining the delegation. “The Aspen Institute is excited about the opportunity to share with Northern African leaders what we have learned about what the best colleges in the US do to expand economic opportunity and explore potential opportunities for future international collaboration.”

The delegation is a part of Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), a network of business, government and civil society, housed at the Aspen Institute in Washington DC and working in 11 countries to foster economic opportunity and catalyze exchange. The initiative’s regional focus, the US-North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (PNB-NAPEO), will lead next week’s delegation.

The Aspen Institute Partners for a New Beginning Secretariat in partnership with U.S. Embassies and PNB-NAPEO local chapters will lead this delegation through Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. A series of roundtable discussions and workshops are planned to discuss potential research partnerships, faculty and student exchange programs, future private sector training workshops in the region, and to plan for courses that will be co-trained by professors in the US and North Africa with the help of videoconferencing.

Special Representative Kris Balderston of the US Department of State will also join the delegation in Tunisia.

Walter Isaacson, who leads the Aspen Institute and serves as Vice-Chair of PNB, remarked: “Partners for a New Beginning focuses on supporting the local priorities of each country we work in. Higher Education is a key priority in the Maghreb, and through PNB and this delegation, we hope to develop effective partnerships that will leverage and support the great work being done by our local partners, as well as foster long lasting relationships between American and Maghreb universities.”

The delegation comes on the heels of US-Maghreb Entrepreneurship conference held in Marrakech this past January.

About The Aspen Institute

The North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (PNB-NAPEO) is a public-private partnership of US and North Africa business leaders, entrepreneurs, civil society leaders, and governments with a mission to foster job creation, entrepreneurship, and education with a focus on youth.

PNB-NAPEO has created a network of stakeholders which is locally-owned and locally-driven. Chapters have been established in Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia, and one is currently being formed in Libya.

The network created by PNB-NAPEO is a vehicle for stakeholders in the United States and North Africa to identify, initiate and sustain projects at the Maghreb regional level to foster investment opportunities, entrepreneurship, and job creation, especially for youth. Over the next five years PNB-NAPEO is committed to positively impacting 100,000 people.

NAPEO is a regional manifestation of Partners for a New Beginning (PNB): a network working in ten countries where local projects and priorities are identified by local chapters. PNB strategically matches them with US and international partners.

PNB was initiated by Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton in April 2010 to develop collaborative networks that foster economic growth in emerging markets. It was publicly launched by PNB Co-Chairs Madeleine K. Albright, Muhtar Kent of the Coca-Cola Company and Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute in September 2011.

For more information regarding PNB visit of follow up on Twitter @US_PNB and @PnbNapeo

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, please visit


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