In Liberia, to celebrate International Literacy Day, USAID’s Core Educational Skills for Liberian Youth (CESLY) is launching a writing contest across all 266 schools they support. Students will compete to write short, original stories built around a positive, inspiring, and unifying theme, and the winning stories will be published and distributed to students across the country to show the importance of literature by Liberian authors.

This is all part of our larger effort along side the Ministry of Education to rebuild the education system after the civil conflict years in which rebel factions frequently targeted schools as places to recruit soldiers.

In the Dominican Republic, we are holding a Digital Journalism Workshop as part of our support to tourism clusters in nine different provinces in the DR.   USAID is sponsoring this workshop with the support of a group of journalists who specialize in tourism area.  The goal is to educate Dominicans on how to more effectively market their many desirable tourism destinations.

In Lebanon, we are opening the American Community School (ACS) Outdoor Education and Nature Center.  This center will enable approximately 1,000 ACS students to re-connect with nature, create awareness on ecological and environmental issues, and establish a networking/exchange program with schools in the area.  The center will be utilized throughout the year to enrich students’ knowledge, raise their respect for nature, and build their personality to become responsible and rely on themselves.