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From Abdedaim: DUKE-UNC, where the next generation of peacemakers meet

When I was a kid, I used to think of people across borders and overseas, if they looked like me, or spoke the same language, or had the same food I eat… in addition to other endless questions…

Little by little I discovered that we do not speak the same language, we do not live in the same conditions, but at the same time we live in a small village (globalization) and resemble each other in our humanity, and there are many who are like me in the goal of making the world a better place.

When I joined the Cadi Ayyad University in Morocco I attended academic activities such as seminars and workshops that discuss and explain law and politics which I found interesting and useful for me as a student and citizen. Thus, I thought about civil society activists and other citizens who are not excused by their ignorance of the law, but no one explains it to them. Therefore, I co-founded Center Cadi Ayyad for Development (C-CAD) which is an NGO seeking to better connect academia with the public through conferences and workshops that gather civic society activists, citizens, students, and academics.

In parallel, I was working with the Ministry of Health of Morocco as a healthcare manager, for seven years, during which I held the position of Vice President of a professional organization “Association of Technicians of CHU” and through that, we organized many joint activities with C-CAD and Cadi Ayyad University. For instance, in 2019 we organized the annual conference on the legal framework for continuing training in University Hospital Centers in Morocco, which has a rich discussion between Professors of Law, professionals, engineers, nurses, technicians, administrators, and it was a unique exchange opportunity in the country.

We’ve all done work we’re proud of, and have known amazing activists and academics, students, and professionals who are passionate about their work and making positive change in their communities.

Then in 2019, I was selected by the US. State Department among 13 young leaders from the Middle East and North Africa Region, where we had an intensive course at Duke Center for International Development, and, during which I learned about the Rotary Peace Fellowship.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic I was preparing my application for the RPF and I co-founded the Arab Journal of International Law ( and later in 2021, I joined the Master of International Development Policy at Duke University as a Rotary Peace Fellow. I enjoyed each course, and it was a great opportunity to benefit from the professors of the practicum and my colleagues as well. Our class is the most diverse among international students at Duke and the average professional experience is 7 years.

The Applied Field Experience (AFE) is a three-month summer internship that takes place after the first year. It is an opportunity for Rotary Peace Fellows to gain professional experience in an area related to their individual academic and professional journeys. I’m a future-oriented person, therefore I like to plan ahead of time, so I started looking for internships/fellowships early, but due to the pandemic, most of the organizations were replying that they didn’t have plans in place yet, except for The Stanback Fellowship which goes with my personality style of planning ahead.

I am planning to make the shift from Public Sector to International Development and fortunately, one of my favorite organizations that works in international development and the health sector has posted a position that requires the technical and managerial skills that match my background.

To make the long story short, I applied and was selected, and I started working with FHI360 as a Research & Management Fellow this summer.

The culture of the organization, and the people, whether from your team or not, are very supportive and the learning experience is fun and rich. What surprised me is the freedom of creativity I have within the team, and I am happy that my purpose in life is in line with the organization’s mission “To improve lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions for human development.”

My main duties with the Product Development and Introduction Department (PDI) team are: Providing support to studies related to a variety of contraceptive methods, including assisting with literature reviews, contributing to study reports and/or manuscripts and assisting in developing study dissemination materials such as PowerPoint presentations and study briefs. In addition I support technical work related to contraceptive-induced menstrual changes and non-contraceptive benefits (e.g., my work includes assisting with coordination of webinar and blog series, updating and disseminating technical documents, and contributing to creative communications materials). Moreover, I am developing content for the Contraceptive Technology Innovation Exchange website (, including writing blogs, updating the resource library, contributing to development of webinars and/or supporting new social media campaigns, and assisting with project-related administrative tasks.

In the last week of June, I will participate in The Duke Global Policy (DGP) Program in Geneva which is a one-of-a-kind experience that prepares graduate and professional students from around the world to tackle the world’s most pressing policy challenges. The week includes meetings with practitioners, site visits to Geneva-based IGOs and NGOs, networking events, professional coaching, group case simulations, and a culminating policy memo assignment.

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