2015 Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Programs

U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)
2015 Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Programs

English Language Program: February 23 to April 27, 2015
Arabic Language Program: March 23 to June 17, 2015

Program Overview:

The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Office of Assistance Coordination (NEA/AC) NEA/AC’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University are pleased to announce a call for applications for two exchange program opportunities:

  1. Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) program in the U.S. February 23 –April 27, 2015
  2. Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) program in Lebanon, March 23-June 17, 2015.

The two programs will advance reform efforts in the Middle East and North Africa by providing emerging civic leaders and democracy activists between the ages of 25-40 the opportunity to spend several months in the United States (for English speakers) or Lebanon (for Arabic speakers) to gain academic skills and practical experience as well as networking opportunities with like-minded peers and professionals.

Fellows chosen to participate in the English language program will attend Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Syracuse, New York; and Fellows chosen to participate in the Arabic Language program will travel to Lebanon to attend Lebanese American University’s (LAU) School of Arts and Sciences. Program participants will subsequently be offered professional affiliations at Washington, D.C. or Beirut-based institutions.

The fellowship will cover international and domestic travel, health insurance, housing and a moderate living stipend.   The program provides young and mid-career civic activists and democratic reform leaders from the Middle East and North Africa with the opportunity to complete academic coursework at either Syracuse University or Lebanese American University and gain relevant professional experience in Washington, D.C. or Beirut.

The fellowship will cover international and domestic travel, health insurance, housing and a moderate living stipend.  Fellows are expected to travel to the United States or Lebanon unaccompanied. An alumni conference will be held in the region in the last quarter of 2015 (details to follow).).

Eligibility Criteria:

The program is open to applicants between 25 and 40 with a bachelor’s degree and sufficient English language fluency or Arabic language fluency to successfully function in an American or Arabic Language university and professional environment.  Applicants cannot hold U.S. citizenship or be a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident.

Applicants should meet the following criteria:

  • s/he has at least five years of experience working as a professional in a political reform oriented field, (e.g., civil society, rule of law, human rights, family law reform, etc.);
  • s/he has demonstrated a commitment and desire to remain working in this field for the foreseeable future and an equal commitment to being a leader of positive change within his or her own country;
  • s/he has exhibited leadership skills over time and the capacity to apply the opportunities presented in this program in a way that would benefit an organization, sector, or specific community;
  • s/he has strong English or Arabic language fluency sufficient to function successfully in a high-level academic as well as professional environment;
  • s/he has at least a bachelors degree and the demonstrated ability to succeed in a demanding and intensive academic environment;
  • s/he demonstrates tolerance and a desire to work collaboratively with a diverse cohort of peers irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, religion, political views and socioeconomic status; and
  • s/he has not already completed a similar academic degree or internship in the United States, and is not subject to J-visa restrictions.


Academic Component:

The LDF program begins with six weeks of academic coursework that addresses leadership, democracy, democratic transitions around the globe, comparative politics, civil society, communication, conflict resolution, and change management, among other topics. Fellows are expected to be active participants in all seminars and workshops that include theoretical debates as well as active skills-building sessions. Participants are also expected to lead discussions and make presentations to the Fellows and the broader Maxwell School / LAU community.

Internship Component:

After completing the academic portion of the program, each participant will engage in a seven-week professional assignment with a relevant political, non-governmental or public policy organization in Washington, D.C. or Beirut. Through this component, participants will gain practical experience about the ways that such institutions interact with government and civil society while also gaining valuable knowledge, experience, skills and further professional contacts to benefit their respective professional pursuits back home.


The MEPI program, through Syracuse University or Lebanese American University, will cover international and domestic travel, health insurance, housing and a moderate living stipend in either the United States or Lebanon for all Fellows. All Fellows will travel to and from the United States or Lebanon in unaccompanied status.

Applications submission and deadline:

Along with an updated resume, each candidate should submit an essay of no more than 1,000 words, written in English (for the Syracuse Program) or Arabic (for the LAU program), which answers the following:

  • Why you think you have the potential to be a real leader in your country or local community?
  • What do you hope to gain from this program and what are your plans to apply the experience it offers?

Biography:  Candidates are asked to provide a brief biography of no more than 200 words that describes their personal background and professional experience as it relates to democracy building in their country of origin. The biography should include their current position, recent professional affiliations, and any noteworthy accomplishments (such as articles published or awards received).

Qualified candidates are encouraged to submit a resume and answers to essay questions, by email, with the subject line “MEPI 2015 LDF English or Arabic application – (Your Name)” to MEPI Amman atMEPIAmman@state.gov by December 21, 2014.  For further information, please contact MEPIAmman@state.gov.  Selected candidates will be notified by January 20, 2015.

For more information on MEPI please visit the website

We look forward to receiving your applications!