Friedman: Scholarships win more love for US in MENA region

    A $13.5 million scholarship initiative in Jordan has won the United States “more friendship and stability” than the billions of dollars the country spends to send fighter jets and tanks to Egypt.

    This is according to columnist Thomas Friedman, who recently visited both Arab countries. Friedman argues the United States should “stop being stupid” and start providing scholarships to countries in the Middle East and North Africa instead of sending huge amounts of military aid, such as the $1.3 billion the country provides to Egypt.

    Helping to send more young people to quality schools will allow the United States to “connect with the real aspirations” of the recent revolutions that swept the region, Friedman adds.

    This is not to say the United States should completely end its military aid programs in the region. Friedman says the United States “can still give military aid — but in the right proportion.”

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.