2018 MEPI Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) Program

The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Office of Assistance Coordination (NEA/AC) is pleased to announce the 2018 Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) program. Since 2007, the program has provided early and mid-career professionals from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the opportunity to complete training in leadership, civic engagement, participatory governance, conflict transformation, and effective communication. Fellows spend three months in the United States (for high-proficiency English speakers) or Lebanon (for high-proficiency Arabic speakers) to gain academic skills and practical experience as well as networking opportunities with like-minded peers and professionals. To apply to the program, please visit the following link: https://wl.force.com/LDF.

Project Overview: NEA/AC’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program and the international non-profit organization, World Learning are pleased to announce the launch of recruitment for the 2018 LDF program. LDF is an advanced fellowship program for up to 44 community and civic leaders (age 25-35) who are provided academic training on leadership, civic engagement, participatory governance, conflict transformation, and effective communication. For 2018, Fellows will train at Duke University (English speakers) or the American University of Beirut (Arabic speakers). Fellows are placed in renowned institutions in the U.S. or Lebanon related to their expertise, and develop civic action plans for implementation upon return to their countries. The Fellowship program in Lebanon will run from July 14 – October 6, 2018, and the U.S. program will run from July 28 – October 20, 2018.

English vs. Arabic Language Programs: In 2018, Fellows chosen to participate in the English language program will travel to the United States to first attend a four-week academic component at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Program participants will subsequently be placed in host organizations aligned with their professional interests for an eight-week practicum experience in Washington, D.C. Recognizing the high level of English required for advanced study and residency in the United States, NEA/AC also offers an Arabic Language program that runs approximately the same time as the U.S. program. In 2018, Fellows chosen to participate in the Arabic Language program will travel to Lebanon to first attend their academic component at the American University of Beirut. A similar eight-week practicum experience in Beirut will also be provided.

Academic Component: The LDF program begins with four weeks of an intensive group academic training focusing on a variety of topics falling under the four primary themes of participatory governance, civic engagement, conflict transformation, and effective communication. The concept of Applied Leadership will be interwoven throughout the program. Fellows are required to be full-time, active participants in all seminars, workshops and activities including theoretical debates, site visits and active skills-building sessions. Fellows are also expected to participate in group work, lead discussions and make presentations to the other Fellows in their cohort and to the broader Duke/AUB communities.

Professional Practicum Component: After completing the academic portion of the program, each participant will engage in an eight-week practicum placement within a relevant non-governmental organization in Washington, D.C. or Beirut. Through this component, participants will gain practical work experience and learn about the ways that such organizations interact with government and civil society. Fellows will also gain valuable knowledge, experience, skills and further professional contacts to benefit their respective professional pursuits back home.

Civic Action Projects and Planning (CAPP): To promote program multiplier effect, throughout the program participants will create and implement follow-on Civic Action Projects and Planning (CAPP) projects in their home communities. CAPP project ideas can be a new idea developed by the Fellow or an existing idea that the Fellow would like to build upon.

Costs: The LDF program, through World Learning, will cover international and domestic travel program-related costs, health and accidental coverage, double-occupancy housing accommodation, and a modest stipend to cover the cost of meals and incidental expenses in either the United States or Lebanon for all Fellows.

Primary Program Rules and Regulations: Beyond the requirement to follow all J-1 regulations, all Fellows are expected to follow LDF Program regulations including: travel to and from the United States or Lebanon in unaccompanied status as family members are not permitted to travel and accompany Fellows on the program; stay in the double-occupancy lodging accommodation provided by the program; and attend the full length of the program with full-time participation in program activities.

Eligibility Requirements:

For the English program in the U.S. applicants must:

  • Be from West Bank and Gaza, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Israel.
  • Have high English proficiency, both written and spoken, for the U.S.-based program. Participants will need to converse about complex political and global issues in English with peers and experts.

For the Arabic program in Lebanon applicants must:

  • Be from Syria, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Iraq.
  • Have high Arabic proficiency, both written and spoken, for the Lebanon-based program as the participants will need to converse about complex political and global issues in Arabic with peers and experts.

Applicants for both programs must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Between 25 and 35 years old, with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
  • At least five years of professional work experience, and both the capacity and commitment to apply the experience gained through the Fellowship in developing and implementing a project that will benefit an organization, specific community and/or sector in their home countries.

Applications will be accepted starting January 8, 2018 through February 16, 2018. 

To apply click here:https://wl.force.com/IYLEP/wl_sitelogin

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page here for common questions: https://mepi.state.gov/faqs/

Schedule for Project Implementation: Key dates and timeframes for the implementation of this project are as follows:

  • January 8 to February 16, 2018 – Recruitment begins; LDF application open.
  • February 16, 2018 – LDF application system closes.
  • April 20, 2018 – World Learning notifies applicants of their status. Selected fellows receive first communication and information from World Learning and initiate visa applications.
  • July 14, 2018 – Start of Lebanon academic component
  • July 28, 2018 – Start of U.S. academic component
  • August 11, 2018 – Start of Lebanon professional practicum component
  • August 25, 2018 – Start of U.S. professional practicum component
  • October 6, 2018 – Lebanon program completion
  • October 20, 2018 – U.S. program completion