CDA Jones Celebrates Completion of MENTOR Project to Strengthen Civil Society

At a ceremony today at Saint Joseph University’s Science Campus, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) ad interim Ambassador Richard Jones celebrated the completion of the three and half -year Middle East-North Africa CSO Training and Organizational Development Response (MENTOR) project to support and develop the capacity of Lebanese civil society organizations (CSOs).  The MENTOR project is a partnership between Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Saint Joseph University (USJ) and is funded by the U.S. government’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).  Since its launch in 2012, the MENTOR project has developed and strengthened the institutional capacity of 34 Lebanese civil society organizations through assessments, coaching, networking opportunities designed to enhance the organizations’ long term sustainability.

In his remarks, CDA Jones emphasized that United States supports the growth and development of civil society as an essential building block for a pluralistic, participatory, and prosperous society.  Jones applauded the organizations’ enduring resolve to improve local communities and Lebanese society and highlighted the strong partnerships the MEPI fosters between Lebanese and American individuals and institutions.

Today’s ceremony at Saint Joseph University’s Science Campus was attended by Minister of Social Affairs H.E. Rachid Derbas, Rector of Saint Joseph University Professor Salim Daccache, and Country Representative of Catholic Relief Services Mr. Davide Bernocchi, along with CRS and USJ staff.  As part of the closing ceremony, participants also inaugurated the MENTOR project’s “Partnership Forum,” a donor fair showcasing the vision, mission and activities of the 34 organizations that benefited from the MENTOR project.

MEPI’s mission is to create vibrant partnerships between the United States and the people of the Middle East and North Africa that promote healthy economies, societies, and governments that are responsive and accountable to their people. MEPI has invested $820,000 dollars in the MENTOR project since 2012 towards that aim. Over the past decade, the American people, through MEPI alone, have invested around $65 million in civil society capacity building, youth and women’s empowerment, and civic education initiatives in Lebanon.  For more information about MEPI’s programs, please visit our website:  https://lb.usembassy.gov/education-culture/mepi/