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 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 activists 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 five 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.

Applications will be reviewed based on clearly defined criteria, including:

  • 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, 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.

Those selected will come from diverse backgrounds and LDF aims for gender balance.


  • High English proficiency, both written and spoken, is required for the U.S.-based program.
  • Applicants with high Arabic proficiency 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, 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.

The deadline for applications from each country has passed for this year. Deadlines for the new 2018 cohorts will be posted in the fall of 2017.

To apply, please visit https://ldfarabic.fluidreview.com/