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 leadership, civic engagement, participatory governance, conflict resolution, 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 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.
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. Expenses for the LDF program are fully paid by the U.S. Department of State.
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.