Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Dispatch From Abroad: Developments in Beirut

Monday, July 20th, 2009

By Bram de Roos


The Mediterranean Coast of Beirut, Lebanon. Photo: Bram de Roos

After studying Arabic for the last academic year and getting a taste of financial management through a course at the Business School, I decided in the spring that it would be good to get some experience in finance in an Arab country. With a background in political science, Japanese studies and anthropology, I figured it would be hard to start managing a Gulf-based investment fund right away. Instead, I decided to look for an opportunity in microfinance.

My interest in international development and base-of-pyramid business models made me curious about this much-praised approach to help ‘the poor’. Especially after setting up a team of Students in Free Enterprise at GW, I was curious to see how other organizations stimulate entrepreneurship. All the while, it would give me an opportunity to test my newly acquired finance and language skills in a new environment.

So I went online, looked for microfinance organizations anywhere in the Arab world (strategically omitting Afghanistan) and send them e-mails offering my services as an intern. Of the scores of messages sent, just a few resulted in a reply. But eventually, I only needed one, so when Al Majmoua in Lebanon asked me to do an Activity-Based cost analysis to look for ways to improve their profitability, my plans for the summer were sealed. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Dispatch From Abroad: Language Study in Jordan

Monday, July 13th, 2009

By Brian Engel

The Hills of the Jordanian Desert, Near Petra. Photo: Brian Engel

My name is Brian Engel, and I’m a rising senior in the Elliott School of International Affairs pursuing a degree in International Affairs and Political Science.  I’m spending this summer living and studying abroad in Amman, Jordan, at the Qasid Institute for Classical and Modern Standard Arabic.  My concentrations in Conflict & Security and Middle Eastern Studies made the decision to study Arabic, as well as the decision to go abroad to the Middle East, relatively painless.  I can honestly say that while I’ve only been here for roughly a month, I have no regrets thus far. Read the rest of this entry ?

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