MEPI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General

Thank you for your interest in our programs. Due to budget constraints, we are unable to support all countries in the Middle East and North Africa.  Only those countries listed in the specific announcement are eligible.

  • DOS and USAID employees and their immediate family members (spouses and dependent children) are NOT eligible to apply to any of the MEPI exchange programs (Tomorrow’s Leaders Program, Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Program, and Student Leaders Program).
  • If a State Department Officer or Locally Employed Staff and/or his or her immediate family members would like to apply to a DOS-funded MEPI exchange program, the applicant(s) may only do so after a period of one year after termination of DOS employment.

Current employees (and their immediate family members) of any private and public agencies under contract to DOS that perform administrative, implementation, and/or screening services on behalf of DOS for the exchange program (e.g. AMIDEAST, the American University of Beirut, and the Lebanese American University for the Tomorrow’s Leaders Program; World Learning and sub-awardees for the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Program; and Georgetown University and sub-awardees for the Student Leaders Program) are NOT eligible to apply to the program that the employee works on.

 


2019 MEPI Tomorrow’s Leaders Program

Tomorrow’s Leaders (TL) supports academically qualified, financially disadvantaged high school graduates in the Middle East and North Africa by providing a four-year academic matriculation, civic education, and leadership development through American accredited institutions in the region.

The program covers university tuition and fees, a study abroad experience in the U.S., insurance, housing, and monthly allowance.  Students requiring English preparatory work may be enrolled in one to two semesters of college preparatory English classes before entering degree programs.

In addition to receiving undergraduate education, students will benefit from mentoring, career development, internship, and micro-grant opportunities with local civil society, business, and non-governmental organizations and networks.  Facilitated by each host institution, students participate in initiatives throughout their ‎academic program that go beyond the traditional classroom to foster leadership development and encourage civic engagement.

Selected participants may be chosen to pursue an undergraduate degree in a selected field at one of the two host institutions in Lebanon: AUB or LAU.  In addition to their studies, recipients will be expected to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, engage in community service activities and participate in internships. Limited English- language training will be provided for some participants. Students may also have an opportunity for a study abroad semester in the U.S. Participation in the program includes: travel, academic fees for four years of university at AUB or LAU, accident and sickness insurance, housing, and a monthly allowance during the school year.

  • This program is open to high school graduates in the Middle East and North Africa, who are qualified but unable to afford a college education.  Students enroll at the undergraduate level in a four-year program.  For the Fall 2019 enrollment class, applicants must be citizens of Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and cannot hold U.S. citizenship or be a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident.Applicants must meet the following criteria:
    • Be a high school senior or recent high school graduate at the time of application;
    • Demonstrate strong leadership potential;
    • Be proficient in written and spoken English;
    • Demonstrate strong academic performance;
    • Ability to start the program in August/September 2019.

Deadline for the Tomorrow’s Leaders Program is November 15, 2019.

Please contact the local AMIDEAST office for your country. They will be able to assist with your question. You can find their contact information on this AMIDEAST website: http://www.amideast.org/


2020 MEPI Student Leaders Program

The Student Leaders (SL) program is an intensive 5-week training program in four U.S.-based universities for about 60 undergraduate and graduate students (age 20-24) from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Students learn about leadership, civil society, and government processes and how they may apply these skills in their home countries.

Students are divided up among U.S. academic institutions where they develop leadership skills and expand their understanding of civil society, as well as the democratic process and how both may be applied in their home communities. Participants have the opportunity to meet their American peers, engage in local community service activities, and observe and take part in the governmental process on the local, state, and federal levels.

The institutes include academic coursework, as well as site visits to local and regional community organizations in the United States. Upon completion of the U.S.-based programs, host institutes work with participants to implement civic engagement programs in their home communities.

After the U.S. program concludes and as funding allows, the U.S. Department of State may hold follow-on trainings and events overseas in the region that program alumni can apply for through a competitive, application-based selection process.

Expenses for the U.S. program are fully paid by the U.S. Department of State.

Applicants must hold citizenship of Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, or Libya; Applicants cannot hold U.S. citizenship and cannot be a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident.

  • Must have ability to fully participate in the program in the USA in late June 2020 to the end of July 2020;
  • Are 20 to 24 years of age as of the program start date of June 24, 2020 and end date of July 29, 2020 (birthdates falling between July 29, 1996 and June 24, 2000);
  • Demonstrate the strong English language skills needed to participate in a U.S. academic program;
  • Are committed to returning to their home country/community following completion of the program;
  • Demonstrate strong leadership potential;
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • Are not a third country national of the nominating country;
  • Have a sustained high level of academic achievement and currently attending an undergraduate or graduate program, have graduated from an undergraduate program within 6 months or less from the program start date of June 24, 2020 or will commence graduate studies in the fall 2020 semester in their home country; will not be commencing study in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in the USA during the fall 2020 USA academic semester;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement;
  • Preference will be given to those who have no prior travel experience in the United States or Canada and limited to no study or travel experience outside their home country;
  • Are willing and able to participate fully in intensive academic, community service, and educational travel activities;
  • Are comfortable with campus life, sharing living accommodations while traveling with a multinational group of participants from the Middle East and North Africa region and with U.S. citizens, and making adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries/communities; and
  • Are comfortable living with another program participant of the same sex in a shared room as well as traveling to the USA and participating in the program without any accompanying friends or family members.

Due to significant budget constraints in 2017, the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Program is limited to 60 students and has been shortened to 5 weeks. MEPI will also not be able to offer the program in all MENA countries this year.

Applications for the Student Leaders Scholarship Program will be accepted from October 1, 2019 to December 3, 2019.

Some students will be invited by their U.S. Embassy or Consulate to do interviews in January 2020. All students will hear the results of their application no later than April 2020 via email sent through the Fluid Review application database. Due to the volume of applications, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will only reach out to short-listed candidates for interviews. Being selected for an interview does NOT mean that a candidate is then automatically selected as a Finalist or Alternate for the program. U.S. Embassies and Consulates will notify those short-listed candidates selected for an interview whether or not they are selected as a Finalist or Alternate candidate by the end of April 2020.

Yes, your recommender has to fill out the provided recommendation form.

Please use the required recommendation format that is provided. The answers can be hand-written or typed by the recommender.

A recommender should be someone other than a friend or family member, who knows you well and has observed your academic, professional, or volunteer work (ex. professor, supervisor, co-worker).

If you choose to “invite a recommender” an email will be sent to your recommender asking him/her to fill out a recommendation form and submit it on your behalf through the link provided.

No, applicants are required to submit a recommendation letter.

You aren’t required to upload actual transcripts but are required to upload documentation (which could include transcripts) to demonstrate your academic results from your most recent year of university studies.

Your passport or identification card copy as well as academic records supporting your academic results from your most recent year of university studies do not need to be translated into English. However, other documents like your recommendation letter should be submitted in English.

The cost of the program is fully covered by the U.S. Department of State.

Yes, you can apply and upload a copy of your identification card if you do not have a passport. If you do not have a passport OR if your passport has expired, please provide a copy of your national ID instead. In the meantime, be sure to apply for your passport or passport renewal, because, if selected as a program participant, you will need a passport valid for at least 6 months after the program end date.

It does not make you ineligible. You can still apply for MEPI programs, although generally we give priority to people who have never visited the United States before.

Each applicant will receive an email notifying them of the result of their application through the Fluid Review online application database by the program implementer Georgetown University.

Only undergraduates and graduate students ages 20-24 at the time they participate in the program may apply. Individuals ages 28-35 may be eligible for a different program called the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) Program. Please view: https://mepi.state.gov/education/student-leaders-program/ to see whether you may be eligible for that program.

No, you cannot. Only applicants who were born between July 29 1996 and June 24, 2000 may apply. You must be 20 to 24 years of age as of the program start date of June 24, 2020 and end date of July 29, 2020.

Yes, you can apply. If a student graduates before the Student Leaders Program begins in late June 2020, they must not graduate more than 6 months before the Student Leaders Program begins. In other words, they must not graduate before January 2020 (unless they will be enrolled in a Graduate program in the August/September fall 2020 semester – see next question below).

Students must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program when they apply. If a student is accepted to a Graduate program but has not started it yet and will start the Graduate program the semester immediately following the Student Leaders program (in the fall 2020 semester, starting August/September 2020), the student can apply.

Yes, you can enter your scores as shown in your school transcripts or as shown in your other academic records. You can also use this calculator to convert your scores into a GPA: http://www.wes.org/students/igpacalc.asp


2019 MEPI Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Program

Since 2007, the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) program has provided leaders from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the opportunity to complete training in civic engagement and leadership. Emerging civic engagement and social innovation leaders with fluency in Arabic will spend three months in Lebanon, while those with fluency in English will go to the United States, gaining academic and practical experience, as well as networking with like-minded peers and professionals. The LDF Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and implemented by World Learning.

Fellows in the English U.S.-based program first participate in an academic component at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, before being placed in host organizations aligned with their professional interests in Washington, D.C. for their practicum experience.

Fellows in the Arabic Lebanon-based program first attend an academic component at the American University of Beirut (AUB), before being placed in host organizations aligned with their professional interests for their practicum experience in Beirut.

The paired components of classroom and real-world work give Fellows the theoretical understanding and practical experience in civic engagement and social innovation required to help enable them to advance initiatives across the MENA region.

MEPI seeks candidates with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, proven leadership abilities, the ability to work in a cross-cultural setting and a commitment to the program and follow-on activities. To promote program sustainability and create a multiplier effect, participants will be required to end the program with targeted leadership objectives and a plan on how they plan to apply the lessons learned from the program when they return home. This is an intensive civic engagement and social innovation program and selected candidates are expected to fully participate in each stage of the program. The LDF program cycle has four stages: an online Pre-Arrival Orientation Phase; an Academic Component (implemented in Beirut, Lebanon or Durham, North Carolina); a Practicum Component (implemented in Beirut, Lebanon, or Washington, D.C.); and an online Post-Program Monitoring Phase. The program in total is approximately nine months starting mid-April 2019 through mid-January 2020.

Participants from the following countries are eligible to apply to the 2019 English U.S.-based LDF program: Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia.

Participants from the following countries are eligible to apply to the 2019 Arabic Lebanon-based LDF program: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia.

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

  • Be from Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Israel.
  • Have full English fluency for the U.S. Program. Applicants should be able to function comfortably in English-speaking academic and professional environments.

For the Arabic program in Lebanon applicants must:

  • Be from Syria, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Iraq.
  • Have full Arabic fluency for the Lebanon Program. Applicants should be able to function comfortably in Arabic-speaking academic and professional environments.

Applicants for both programs must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Age: Applicants should be between 28 and 35 years of age.
  • Professional Experience: Applicants should have at least five years of professional work experience in a relevant field.
  • Civic Engagement and/or Social Innovation Experience: Applicants should have more than three-five years of experience working on civic and/or social innovative projects with NGOs in a professional capacity. Volunteer experience will be considered.
  • Academic Background: Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree.
  • Post Program: Have the capacity and commitment to apply the leadership development experience gained through the Fellowship program upon returning to home country.
  • Returning Home: Are committed to returning to their home country/community following completion of the program.
  • Commitment: Are willing and able to participate fully in intensive academic, community service, and educational travel activities.
  • Cross-Cultural Experience: Are comfortable with campus life, sharing living accommodations while traveling with a multinational group of participants from the Middle East and North Africa region and with U.S. citizens (if attending the U.S. program), and adjusting to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries/communities.
  • Lodging and Traveling Logistics: Are comfortable living with another program participant of the same sex in a shared room or shared apartment, traveling to the U.S. (for the English program) and Lebanon (for the Arabic program), and participating in the program without any accompanying friends or family members.

Applications for the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Program will be accepted online from February 1, 2019 – March 1, 2019. The application’s link will go live starting February 1.

All applications will be submitted online. Please apply using this link:  https://www.worldlearning.org/program/ldf_apply

For more info on LDF, visit this link: https://mepi.state.gov/education/ldf/

For questions on applying to the English U.S.-based LDF program, please email usldf@worldlearning.org, and for questions on the Arabic Lebanon-based LDF program, please contact lbldf@worldlearning.org. You can also contact your U.S. Embassy/Consulate/post.

Applicants are free to apply to both the Lebanon and U.S. programs. However, applicants will only be offered a spot in one of the programs. The candidate’s program preference may be taken to account during the interview process, if the applicant is selected for an interview and has the high language proficiency required for their top choice.

Due to the volume of applications, we will only contact semi-finalists.

Due to significant budget constraints, the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Leaders for Democracy Fellowship program was reduced in size. MEPI will not be able to offer the program in all previous countries this year.

No, applicants are required to submit a recommendation letter.

You aren’t required to upload actual transcripts but are required to upload academic documentation (which could include transcripts) to demonstrate that you hold a bachelor’s degree. If you hold a master’s degree, Ph.D. or another degree, please upload documentation to demonstrate that you hold these degrees.

Your passport or identification card copy as well as academic records supporting your academic degrees do not need to be translated into English and can be submitted in the local language they are printed in. However, all other application documents such as your recommendation letter, essay questions, and other application materials should be submitted in English for the English U.S.-based program application, and Arabic or English for the Arabic Lebanon-based program application.

The Leaders for Democracy Fellowship, funded by MEPI, will cover the cost of international and domestic travel, lodging, and health insurance, and provide a modest living stipend to cover meals and incidentals during the program.

Yes, you can apply and upload a copy of your identification card if you do not have a passport. If you do not have a passport OR your passport is expired, please provide a copy of your national ID instead. In the meantime, you should apply for a passport or passport renewal, because, if selected as a program participant, you will need a passport valid for at least 6 months after the program end date.

It does not make you ineligible. You can still apply for MEPI programs, although generally we give priority to people who have never visited the United States before.

Only applicants ages 28-35 at the time of the program may apply for the LDF program. Individuals ages 20-24 may be eligible for the Student Leaders Program. Please view this website to read about the Student Leaders Program: https://mepi.state.gov/education/student-leaders-program/