U.S. Embassy Announces the 2016 Middle East Partnership Initiative Student Leaders Program

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is pleased to announce that the application period for the 2016 Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) is now open. Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative and implemented by World Learning, the LDF Program will provide emerging civic leaders and democracy activists the opportunity to spend over three months in the United States (for high-proficiency English speakers) or Lebanon (for Arabic speakers) to gain academic skills and practical experience as well as network with like-minded peers and professionals.

 The LDF Arabic program will take place in Lebanon from July to October 2016 and the LDF English program will take place in the United States from September to December 2016. Fellows chosen to participate in the English language program will travel to the United States to first attend a five week academic component at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia while the 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. Program participants will subsequently be placed in host organizations aligned with their professional interests for a nine week practicum experience in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. participants, and Beirut for the Lebanon participants.

To promote program sustainability and create a multiplier effect, participants will create and implement follow-on projects in their home communities. Action plans for the follow-on projects will be developed and finalized throughout the course of the program.

Accommodations will include double-person hotel rooms, dorm lodging, or shared apartments. A stipend will be provided during the program to cover meals and incidentals. The cost of international and domestic travel, program-related ground transportation, and other logistical arrangements will also be covered.

Eligibility Requirements

The project is open to applicants between the ages of 25 and 40 with a minimum of a bachelor's degree and sufficient English or Arabic language fluency to successfully function in an American or Arabic language university and professional working environment. Applicants also should have 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.

We seek 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. Those selected will come from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, organizations, and political orientations. We also aim for gender balance. Written and oral English proficiency is required for the U.S.-based program as the participants will need to converse about complex political and global issues with U.S. peers and experts. To select the best candidates, we will review applications based on clearly defined criteria, including:

  • Demonstrated strong commitment to being a leader of positive change in your community;
  • Demonstrated 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; and
  • Commitment to the implementation of a follow-on project.

How to apply

Interested applicants must fill out and submit the “MEPI Leaders of Democracy Fellowship Application Forms” available 



and also a reference form available 


(PDF 144 KB) HERE 

Send the completed application to:

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.  The deadline for applications is midnight on Saturday, March 5, 2016.

For questions about the program please email :

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Preference will be given to applicants with relevant professional achievements who have not previously visited the United States. Please find the application form below. Early applications are encouraged. Please note that due to the volume of applications, we will only contact semi-finalists.