The new year is a time of excitement and determination; to seize new opportunities and resolve to improve ourselves and the world around us. We have the opportunity to build on our impressive accomplishments of 2018 by getting hard to work implementing the goals we have set for 2019.
At the close of last year, the NCUSLR Executive Board met to establish the principles and results that would guide our work in the new year.
Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and launch these key initiatives to promote better relations and mutual understanding between the American and Libyan people. As such, it is my sincere privilege to share with you what we are working on this year.
We plan to conduct a bimonthly series of lectures, panel discussions, and debates on the current political, security, economic, and social conditions in Libya.
Following the success of the 2018 NCUSLR annual conference - the most comprehensive and detailed, nonpartisan full-day educational program on Libya held in Washington - we intend to further enrich the 2019 annual conference program by:
Gathering more international and U.S.-based experts on Libya
Widening media coverage and better engaging our online audience
Launching an audience feedback system using surveys to measure event quality
Following up with fireside chats on important topics discussed at the conference
This year we have officially inaugurated the ‘Libya Study Group’ - a DC-based team of experts and Libya specialists. This group will consolidate opinions on multiple critical topics related to Libya in the most non-partisan, scientific, and qualitative manner possible. We are confident that the opinions and recommendations given by this collaborative group of experts will be highly regarded and sought after.
We will initiate our first U.S. business and trade mission to Libya led by committed pioneers who believe in the great economic and business future of Libya. We plan to leverage our established network on the ground in Libya to make this mission a success. We believe attention to Libya’s rich resources and access to regional markets is critical as it emerges from conflict.
We will continue to expand upon our humanitarian medical missions to Libya. These missions will help provide urgent consultations, meet medical supply shortages, and include site visits to local hospitals and clinics. Last year we were able to run clinics in Benghazi and Albeida, and do one of the first exploratory visits to a war-affected hospital in Derna. This year, we will revisit these areas and extend our expert medical team’s operation to provide multidisciplinary specialty care in other regions of Libya.
We are currently planning a visit to the neglected Fezzan province in the South.
Education is the most essential element for securing a prosperous future for Libyans. Many Libyan students across the U.S. have been stranded politically and financially because of the conflict in Libya, as well as the mismanagement of their scholarships and funding. We would like to extend assistance to ensure their education is not interrupted.
We recognize the need to encourage professional Libyan youth and women, who currently face serious unemployment and limited access of their products to regional markets. Accordingly, we will explore the opportunities for online vocational and technical training offered by U.S. educational institutions. Additionally, we will consider the potential of innovative supply chain opportunities to expand global commerce in Libya. The availability of these tools can create better job access in Libya.
These are some of the ambitious objectives that the Council will pursue this year. Much of this work relies on our ability to engage other organizations, institutions, and individuals in the U.S. and Libya. We are grateful to have access to robust Libyan community networks and connections on the ground. The opening of our regional office in Benghazi, and our intention to open a second office in Albeida, will strengthen our ability to execute projects and render us more effective.
Our ability to reach deeply into Libya, where other international NGOs are limited, is perhaps one of our strongest assets. We have also developed mutual respect and platforms for collaboration with our partners in DC. We hope to leverage these connections to assist all who are interested in helping in Libya with unique counsel and resources.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my fellow board members, our advisors, our staff, and the volunteers who made it possible for NCUSLR to have an exceptional year in 2018 and who remain steadfastly committed to our success in 2019. I wish you all a very healthy and happy new year!
Thank you for your attention and support,
Dr. Hani Shennib, MD
Founding President and Chairman of the Board
National Council on U.S.-Libya Relations