Student Leaders Program

The Student Leaders Program (SLP) is a rigorous leadership and civic engagement program for competitively selected undergraduate and graduate students between the ages of 20 and 24 from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Students are placed in U.S. universities where they complete academic coursework, develop leadership and project management skills, and expand their understanding of civil society and participatory governance processes in the United States and MENA region. The cornerstone of the program is the development of Community Engagement Plans (CEP), where each student identifies an issue/opportunity that they would like to improve in their communities. During the program, students will have the opportunity to meet their American peers, engage in community service activities, and meet civil society organizations.

The Student Leaders Program (SLP) is a yearlong three-part program: pre-summer, summer, and post-summer with the most intensive part taking place during the summer. The summer program is an intensive 4-week program, and is tentatively scheduled to take place from June 28 until July 26, 2023. The summer program will either be a virtual, hybrid, or in-person program. Upon completion of the summer program, students will implement their Community Engagement Plans (CEPs) and receive follow-on support, training, and professional networking opportunities, including joining the 2,000 strong MEPI Alumni network. A competitive follow-on Accelerator Workshop may be held in the region. 

Who is eligible?

  • Citizenship: Students from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen.  
    • Applicants must hold citizenship from the aforementioned countries as well as reside in their home countries, with the exception of Syrian and Yemeni applicants.
    • Applicants who are American citizens or U.S. Legal Permanent Residents are not eligible to apply.
    • Applicants cannot be a third-country national of the nominating country with the exception of Syrian and Yemeni applicants. 
  • Country of Residence: ALL applicants must live in their home country with the exception of Syrian and Yemeni applicants.
    • Syrian applicants living in any of the participating MENA countries are eligible to apply, whereas Syrian applicants living inside Syria are not eligible to apply
    • Yemeni applicants both living inside Yemen and in any of the participating MENA countries are eligible to apply. 
  • Return to Country of Residence: Applicants must be committed to returning to or remaining in their home country/community following completion of the program.
  • University Enrollment: Applicants must be currently attending an undergraduate or graduate university program in their home countries (with the exception of Syrian and Yemeni applicants living and studying in participating MENA countries). Applicants may also have recently graduated from an undergraduate program within 6 months or less from the program state date of June 28, 2023 or will commence graduate studies in the Fall 2023 academic semester in their home country. Applicants should not be commencing study in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in the USA during the Fall 2023 academic semester. 
  • Academic Achievement: Applicants must demonstrate a high level of academic achievement.
  • Commitment to Leadership and Civic Engagement: Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to leadership and civic engagement in their communities. 
  • Ages: Applicants must be between the ages of 20 and 24 with birth dates falling between July 26, 1998 and June 28, 2003. 
  • English Proficiency: Applicants should have high English-language proficiency skills to participate in U.S. university academic classes in English. 
  • Availability: Applicants must have ability to fully participate in the Student Leaders Program, particularly the intensive summer program that will tentatively take place from late June 2023 to the end of July 2023.
  • Flexibility and Participation: The program will either be a virtual, hybrid, or in-person program depending on the state of the global pandemic. Please only apply to the program if you are willing to commit to participating in the program regardless of its modality. 
    • In-Person Program: In the case of an in-person program, applicant must be comfortable living with another program participant of the same sex in a shared dormitory room as well as travel to the USA and participate in the program without any accompanying friends or family members. Applicant must be comfortable and willing to adjust to campus life, sharing dormitory living accommodations with a multinational group of participants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and with U.S. citizens. Applicant will need to adjust to new cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries/communities.
    • Hybrid or Virtual Program: In the case of a fully virtual or hybrid program, applicant must be able to balance competing obligations of the intensive program with home circumstances of family, school, work, etc. Applicant will need to participate in all virtual sessions, exhibit time management skills, demonstrate a flexible and positive attitude to want to learn and engage with a multinational group of participants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and with U.S. citizens.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: SLP is committed to attracting diverse applicants representing a myriad of social identities from nationalities, ethnicities, race, religions, gender identities, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities, and socioeconomic status, among others. We aim to create a diverse, inclusive, and multicultural environment with a gender-balanced pool of candidates. 
    • Preference will be given to those applicants from households with limited family income, no prior travel experience in the United States or Canada, and limited to no study or travel experience outside their home country. 
    • Applicants with an interest in environmental and climate needs are highly encouraged to apply.  

 Who funds the program?

The Student Leaders Program (SLP) is sponsored by the U.S Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Assistance Coordination, U.S.- Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), and has operated continually since 2003. Georgetown University is the prime implementer and works with the consortium of U.S. partner universities including University of Delaware, Montana State University, and Portland State University.

Application Timeline

Applications will be accepted starting on October 19, 2022. Applications are due on December 19, 2022 at 23:59 GMT for the following countries; Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. 

Applications for Israel, Qatar, and Lebanon will be due on January 3, 2023 at 23:59 GMT.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about the Student Leaders Program, eligibility requirements, application timeline and process, and general application questions and requirements, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). To fully understand the eligibility criteria and application process, please watch this tutorial.

Click here to begin your SLP application!


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