Middle East Partnership Students Visit Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

Today, 23 students from the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) visited the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC) to learn how environmental stewardship can be successfully implemented in their native Arab countries. This group, in partnership with Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice and the Department of Government, is made up of students representing 15 countries, including Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria, and other Middle East and North African nations.

To gain first-hand experience in environmental stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay, students immersed themselves in CBEC’s living shoreline education and restoration by seining and planting bay grasses while learning about the Chesapeake Bay’s delicate ecosystem.

In 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said MEPI is “…building civil society and providing tangible services to people help result in stronger nations that share the goals of security, prosperity, peace, and progress.”  With growing concerns about global climate change, these students are learning to work together toward finding and implementing solutions toward worldwide environmental concerns.

CBEC Restoration Manager Vicki Paulas said, “At CBEC, we hope that by sharing common environmental challenges, including balancing environmental concerns with brisk economic development in these nations, we can be a small part of the global shift toward environmental stewardship.”

Following a relaxing lunch overlooking the Bay, students kayaked along CBEC’s waterways to explore oyster reefs and resident wildlife at the 510-acre sanctuary.

ABOUT CBEC: The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit wildlife sanctuary located on 510 acres in Grasonville, MD, surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay.  A private membership organization, CBEC’s mission is to promote stewardship and sustainability through environmental education and habitat restoration. For more information on CBEC, call 410.827.6694 or visit www.bayrestoration.org.

ABOUT MEPI: The MEPI Student Leaders Program at Georgetown University is one of five programs that take place in the summer of 2010 on campuses across the United States.  Each Institute offers an intensive five-week program for students from the Middle East and North Africa that focuses on the development of the participants’ leadership skills and expands their understanding of American society and culture.  It includes an academic program conducted by scholars and other professionals with expertise in leadership and U.S. Studies, as well as a study tour to other regions of the country.  Participants will also be eligible to attend an alumni conference in the Middle East or North Africa within one year of the conclusion of the program.