Global Communities’ Lana Abu-Hijleh Named a McNulty Prize Laureate for the Second Time for Her Work on Youth Local Councils Across the Globe

Silver Spring, MD, August 8, 2017

Global Communities Palestine Country Director, Lana Abu-Hijleh, has been announced as a Laureate for the 10th annual John P. McNulty Prize for her work helping youth in Palestine and Honduras on youth local councils. Abu-Hijleh is one of the four 2017 Laureates who were named on July 29th at the Resnick Aspen Action Forum. Laureates will receive $25,000 toward their project, and the winner, to be announced in November, will receive $100,000. This is Abu-Hijleh’s second time as a McNulty Prize Laureate; she previously received this recognition in 2014.

Lana Abu-Hijleh is being honored for her work creating and spreading the idea of youth local councils (YLCs).  YLCs, originally developed as part of a USAID-funded local governance program in the West Bank, are a democratically elected body of youth who can voice their needs and help bridge the gap between local government and this important demographic. Abu-Hijleh saw firsthand the success of these councils, with 20 established since 2008, not only giving youth a voice in matters that concern them, but also helping foster democratic norms in a region where elections are few and far between. Even after the local governance program ended, these YLCs still operate to this day, with a further 20 independently establishing themselves, a testament to the model’s sustainability.

With Abu-Hijleh as a champion, after winning a Global Communities-hosted competition for the most innovative, impactful idea, the YLC program was expanded into Honduras, taking the lessons learned about and applying them in a new environment. While the countries have different challenges, with Honduras facing high rates of gang violence and human trafficking, and not the risk of radicalization like in the West Bank, both programs have the same goals of strengthening democratic norms and ultimately helping to address some of the challenges faced by youth.

Lana Abu-Hijleh says: “I thank the McNulty Foundation again for this recognition. But while I am humbled and honored, it is the young people participating in these councils across the world that deserve most to be honored. This is recognition for the youth out there for their resilience, for their willingness to act to make this world a better one. To the youth of Palestine and the youth of Honduras – our hope is in you; lead us to a better world.”

David A. Weiss, President and CEO of Global Communities says: “From Baghdad to Bangalore, Nairobi to Sao Paulo, the world is going to be shaped by a demographic shift as more and more young people come into their own and enter into the workforce and political life. Ensuring that youth have a voice and learn the importance of good governance is vital to ensuring stability and creating lasting solutions to some of the problems that challenge countries around the world. Youth Local Councils can help give young people voice and agency, as we have seen in both the West Bank and Honduras and hope to see soon in more countries. We could not be more proud of Lana for this recognition, and we recognize the teams of dedicated professionals in both countries who support this program, the partners who make it possible and, of course, every single young person who has taken part in helping build a better future for their countries in the Youth Local Councils.” 

To learn more about Youth Local Councils visit: https://www.globalcommunities.org/yslc   
To learn more about the McNulty Prize and the Laureates visit: https://www.aspeninstitute.org/blog-posts/2017-mcnulty-prize-laureates-announced/

To watch the announcement ceremony visit: https://youtu.be/41oecURE9Dk

About Lana Abu-Hijleh: Lana Abu-Hijleh is a longtime expert in Palestinian development. She has been working for the past 28 years with international development and humanitarian agencies in Palestine and the region. Since 2003, Lana has been the Country Director of Global Communities (formerly CHF International) for Palestine. She recently led a team of 200 Palestinian and international professionals designing and implementing assistance programs focusing on economic revitalization, community and social infrastructure, democracy/governance, job creation, and food security in the West Bank and Gaza. Prior to her work with Global Communities, Lana served as the Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People for over 17 years.

About Global Communities: Global Communities is a global non-profit organization founded in 1952 that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. Global Communities believes that the people who understand their needs best are the people of the community itself. Global Communities has worked in the West Bank and Gaza since 1995. Learn more at www.globalcommunities.org and @G_Communities.

About The John P. McNulty Prize: Founded by Anne Welsh McNulty in honor of her late husband John, the McNulty Prize celebrates the boldness and impact of individuals who are using their exceptional leadership abilities, entrepreneurial spirit and private sector talents to address the world's toughest challenges. Each year, the winner is selected by a jury that has previously included Mary Robinson, Bill Gates, Sr. and Sir Richard Branson. The winner receives $100,000 and each Laureate receives $25,000 to further his or her venture. The Prize is given in partnership with the Aspen Institute, and recognizes exceptional leadership ventures undertaken by Fellows of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

For more information, visit www.mcnultyprize.org. Follow @McNultyPrize on Twitter and join the conversation using #McNultyPrize.