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NDI Regional Parliamentary Exchange: "Strengthening Economic Development and Women's Political Empowerment"

Saturday, February 22, 2014 to Sunday, March 2, 2014

From February 22 to March 2, 2014, the Institute for Representative Government (IRG), in cooperation with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), organized a parliamentary exchange for 17 Members of Parliament from four Middle East and North African countries: Jordan, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia1. Women made up a majority of the delegation, and women’s political participation was an important theme throughout the program. Another overarching theme was how legislatures can support inclusive economic development.

While in Washington, the MPs met with a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including the current chairs of the House Democracy Partnership, senior congressional staff, representatives from Congressional support agencies, members of the National Security Council staff, and State Department representatives to discuss issues in the region and in the bilateral relationships of the U.S. and their respective countries. In Virginia, the delegation met with Governor Terry McAuliffe, the Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, and a bipartisan group of leaders from both chambers of the state legislature. The visit allowed an up-close look at “democracy in action,” as the Virginia legislature worked to close out its current session. Finally, the delegation enjoyed a brief visit to colonial Williamsburg to discuss civic education and how to preserve democratic history and build national identity that includes democratic ideals.

The delegation was accompanied by NDI staff, including a staff member of the NDI Tunisia office, and three professional interpreters from the State Department’s Office of Language Services. The program was made possible with funding by both the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

For a complete summary, please see the attachment below.