The origins of the lazord foundation
The Lazord Foundation was created to support young college graduates driven to make an impact in their local communities. The pieces came together in 2010 when Barbara Ibrahim, Nelly Corbel, and Anna Irwin Manice joined to create the first Lazord Fellowship program.
In 2008, Anna met some scholarship students from the American University in Cairo (AUC) and was inspired by their vision, determination, and love for their country. She wanted to create a program to provide graduates such as themselves with local employment opportunities, educational enrichment, mentoring, and a strong network. She presented her idea to Barbara Ibrahim, the Director of AUC’s John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement. The idea aligned with the Gerhart Center’s vision and years of experience strengthening civic engagement and philanthropy in the region, so the Center pulled together a campus-wide committee with individuals from AUC’s career center to the LEAD undergraduate scholarship program to design and successfully run the pilot year of the fellowship program, chaired by Nelly Corbel. This is how Barbara introduced Anna to Nelly Corbel, who was working on a youth leadership program and curriculum for civic education at the Gerhart Center. Anna and Nelly ended up co-founding the Lazord Foundation and the rest is history. Anna focused on scaling up the foundation while Nelly developed the program regionally and was instrumental in creating the curriculum that the Lazord Foundation uses today.
The first Lazord Fellowship began at the Gerhart Center in Egypt in 2010 with 3 female graduates. It has since expanded to INJAZ in Jordan, and UTIL Tunisia with 30 fellows a year. The Lazord Foundation, a U.S. 501(c)3, was formed in order to support the current fellowships as well as create similar programs in neighboring countries around the Mediterranean. The foundation is excited about the opportunity to capitalize on the creativity and expertise of young graduates and provide a civic education that they can put to immediate use!