October 7, 2019

MEPI Alumna Named 120 Under 40 Award Winner

Alumna Zeinab Cherri is working to empower Syrian refugee women, a passion that has led to her 120 Under 40 award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Zeinab is an alumna of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders program, which strives to advance stability and prosperity in the Middle East and North Africa through the promotion of core program objectives of expanding participatory governance and economic opportunity. After participating in the MEPI Student Leaders program in 2013, Zeinab continued the work she started as a student fellow, assessing the challenges and vulnerabilities women face in establishing their independence.

As a 120 Under 40 award winner, Zeinab plans to continue the work she started as a student fellow, stating, “I will seize the opportunity to further build my capacity to deliver better research outputs on family planning in humanitarian settings.” Zeinab is appreciative of this award. She says that the grant will afford her the opportunity to finance efforts to develop a study aimed at improving the health of Syrian refugee women in Lebanon, offering her the ability to explore humanitarian issues in the context of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

As an alumna of MEPI’s leadership programs, Zeinab understands that she is part of a supportive network, expressing her appreciation for the fact that, “at any point, I can suggest an initiative to this network and I am sure that I could rally support and transform it into action.” Zeinab credits the MEPI Student Leaders program with providing her with the resources needed to develop leadership skills and stand out as a qualified candidate for future academic and professional opportunities, paving her path towards an international career.

In addition to her work on women’s empowerment, Zeinab has remained an active member of the international exchange alumni community. After her leadership experience, she participated in the 2014 MEPI Student Leaders Program Alumni Conference in Morocco and, in 2017, she attended the MEPI Student Leaders Program Capstone Seminar where she assisted in a workshop training exercise on refugee leadership.

Congratulations to MEPI alumna Zeinab Cherri on her 120 Under 40 award! We look forward to seeing what she will do next.