TIMEP’s fellowship programs are an investment in the future of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Over the years, the institute has built a name for itself in establishing an impactful and dynamic fellowship program that brings together young and mid-career advocates and experts from and in the region and provides them with the toolkit to bring about transformative change.
TIMEP’s fellows are activists, lawyers, scholars, journalists, economists, researchers, and environmentalists. They are based in and from countries including Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Lebanon, and Syria. They engage on critical and timely topics from food security in North Africa to the state of religious, ethnic, and gender minorities in Egypt and public health across the MENA region.
Throughout their fellowships, fellows produce analysis and programming on a mandate of their choosing; they engage with and inform the work of decision makers, members of the media, and partners; they are immersed in a nonprofit setting and exposed to the institute’s departments; and they access targeted skills-building workshops and resources. As part of a cohort of other like-minded advocates and experts, TIMEP’s fellows enjoy the unique opportunity to connect, exchange, and collaborate with the next generation of leaders. In facilitating these linkages, TIMEP fosters a well-networked and impactful community of changemakers who are deeply committed to bringing about transparent, accountable, and just societies in the region.
In 2023, TIMEP is proud to be celebrating its tenth anniversary. To honor its roots as an organization born in diaspora, the institute is pleased to announce two new named fellowships that will commemorate the legacy of two remarkable advocates who passed away in diaspora and exile in recent years: the Sarah Hegazi and Mohamed Aboelgheit Nonresident Fellowships. The first recipients of these fellowships will join the institute as part of the 2023-2024 nonresident fellowship cohort in May 2023.
The Sarah Hegazi Nonresident Fellowship
Sarah Hegazi was an intersectional Egyptian queer feminist and human rights defender. In Egypt, she was a member of the democratic socialist Bread and Freedom Party and a vocal advocate on key issues, including the release of political detainees and against the application of the death penalty. She was an outspoken and strong ally of movements for freedom across the MENA region, including in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Sudan. In September 2017, Sarah attended a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo in which she raised the rainbow flag. In the days and weeks to follow, Egyptian authorities led a widespread campaign against the country’s LGBTQI+ community and as part of this campaign, they arrested Sarah. In custody, Sarah was subject to torture and mistreatment; police officers incited inmates to beat and sexually and verbally assault her. As a result of what would become a three months-long detention, Sarah was fired from her job and experienced severe depression and PTSD. Ultimately, and out of fear for her safety amid continued targeting, bullying, and repression, Sarah was forced to flee Egypt in 2018. She traveled to Canada where she sought political asylum. While living in exile apart from her family, her loved ones, and the country and community most dear to her, Sarah took her life on June 13, 2020. Sarah was 30 years old.
As the space for organizing and expression across the MENA region narrows, a number of advocates and experts are finding themselves in voluntary or forced exile. Many search for opportunities to continue their activism and scholarship from abroad, but find it difficult to do so. Named in her honor, the annual Sarah Hegazi Nonresident Fellowship will be awarded to an advocate from the MENA region who is living in exile and will allow them to continue their critical work from abroad while housed at TIMEP.
The Mohamed Aboelgheit Nonresident Fellowship
Mohamed Aboelgheit was an award-winning Egyptian investigative journalist whose writing captivated readers from across the Arab world and beyond. Formerly trained as a medical doctor, Mohamed decided to pursue journalism after his viral blog posts caught media interest and generated widespread public discussion during the Egyptian revolution of 2011. He worked as a producer in ONTV and Al-Araby TV. He published work in many outlets both inside and outside of Egypt, including Al-Shorouk newspaper, Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, and CNN. His cutting-edge investigative journalism delved into critical issues such as Western governments’ illegal sales of weapons in Yemen and the Rapid Support Forces’ secret financial network in Sudan. He was a member of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) and later joined the Organized Corruption and Crime Reporting Project, which brought together 160 journalists from around the world to produce the Swiss Leaks, a project that uncovered an enormous international tax evasion scheme. Mohamed cofounded Matsda2sh (Don’t Believe), the leading fact-checking service in the Arab world, and Arabi Facts Hub, a pioneering platform that processes big data to help address misinformation in the Arab world. Due to the restrictive political climate and shrinking space for independent media in Egypt, Mohamed moved to London with his family in 2015. In 2021, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer; in the months that followed, he wrote powerful, thought-provoking reflections on his diagnosis and experience with terminal illness. His essays were posthumously published in the book I Am Coming to the Light. Mohamed passed away on December 5, 2022. He was 34 years old.
Throughout his life, Mohamed was deeply committed to journalism that advanced accountability and brought about tangible change in the lives of the impacted individuals. It is in this spirit that TIMEP designates the annual Mohamed Aboelgheit Nonresident Fellowship, in cooperation with Mohamed Aboelgheit Endowment, which will be awarded to an early or mid-career journalist in or from the MENA region annually, immersing them in the world of policymaking and providing a space for them to produce impact-oriented writing.