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.

 


2018 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, 2018.


2018 MEPI Student Leaders Program

SL 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 participate in the program in the USA in late June 2019;
  • Are 20 to 24 years of age as of the program start date of June 26, 2019 and end date of July 31, 2019 (birthdates falling between July 31, 1995 and June 26, 1999);
  • 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 27, 2019 or will commence graduate studies in the fall 2019 semester in their home country; will not be commencing study in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in the USA during the fall 2019 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, the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders 2019 Program has been reduced from 120 to 60 students and has been shortened to 5 weeks. MEPI will also not be able to offer the program in all countries this year.

Applications for the Student Leaders Scholarship Program will be accepted from October 9, 2018 to December 31, 2018.

Some students will be invited by their U.S. Embassy or Consulate to do interviews in January 2019. All students will hear the results of their application no later than April 2019 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 2019.

 

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 25-35 may be eligible for a different program called the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) Program. Please view https://mepi.state.gov/opportunities/mepi-exchange-programs/leaders-for-democracy-fellowship.html to see whether you may be eligible for that program.

No, you cannot. Only applicants who were born between July 31, 1995 and June 26, 1999 may apply. You must be 20 to 24 years of age as of the program start date of June 26, 2019 and end date of July 31, 2019.

Yes, you can apply. If a student graduates before the Student Leaders Program begins in late June 2019, they must not graduate more than 6 months before the Student Leaders Program begins. In other words, they must not graduate before January 2019 (unless they will be enrolled in a Graduate program in the August/September fall 2019 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 exchange program (in the fall 2019 semester, starting August/September 2019), 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


2018 MEPI Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Program

Since 2007, the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) program has provided early and mid-career professionals from the MENA region with the opportunity to complete training in participatory governance, conflict resolution, and political mobilization and communication. Emerging civic leaders with strong Arabic skills will spend three months in Lebanon, while those with university-level English proficiency will go to the United States, gaining academic and practical experience, as well as networking with like-minded peers and professionals.

Fellows in the U.S.-based program attend a four-week academic component at a U.S. university and then engage in internships at political, non-governmental, or public policy organizations in Washington, D.C. The paired components of classroom and real-world work give Fellows the theoretical understanding and practical experience in democracy and governance required to help enable them to advance initiatives across the MENA region.

Fellows in the MENA-based programs first attend a four week academic component at the American University of Beirut (AUB), before being placed in host organizations aligned with their professional interests for an eight-week practicum experience in Beirut.

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 create and implement follow-on projects in their home communities. The action plans for follow-on projects will be developed and finalized throughout the course of the program.

After the U.S. and Lebanon programs conclude 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 LDF program are fully paid by the U.S. Department of State.

Participants from the following locations are eligible to apply to the 2018 U.S. LDF exchange (run in English): Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and West Bank and Gaza.

Applicants cannot hold U.S. citizenship and cannot be a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident.

  • Applicants demonstrate a strong commitment to being leaders of positive change in their communities.
  • Applicants demonstrate tolerance and a desire to work collaboratively with a diverse cohort of peers irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political views and socioeconomic status.
  • Interest in participating in the program and sharing the experience with others.
  • Commitment to the implementation of a follow-on project.
  • High English proficiency, both written and spoken, is required for the U.S.-based program.
  • Applicants with high Arabic proficiency, both written and spoken, are eligible for the MENA-based program as the participants will need to converse about complex political and global issues in Arabic with peers and experts.
  • Between 25 and 35 years old as of the program dates (U.S. program: July 28 – October 20, 2018; Lebanon program: July 14 – October 6, 2018), 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.
  • Are committed to returning to their home country/community following completion of the program;
  • Demonstrate strong leadership potential;
  • For the U.S. program, preference will be given to those with 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 (if attending the U.S. program), 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 or shared apartment as well as traveling to the USA 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 January 8, 2018 – February 16, 2018. Please check back here starting January 8 for the application database link.

Yes, you can apply to both the U.S. and Lebanon LDF Programs.

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.

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 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 25-35 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/