Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

2023-24 Student Leaders Program

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) should help applicants gain a better understanding of the nature of the Student Leaders Program, eligibility requirements, application timeline and process, and general application questions and requirements. 

A. About the Student Leaders Program and Eligibility

What is the Student Leaders Program (SLP)?

The Student Leaders Program is a rigorous leadership and civic engagement program for up to 60 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 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 depending on the state of the global pandemic. Upon completion of the summer program, students will implement their Community Engagement Plans 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 MENA region.

When will we know whether the program will be virtual, hybrid, or in-person?

This is entirely dependent on the global COVID pandemic, which has proven to be unpredictable. Please know we are actively monitoring the situation and hope to have a better sense of the program modality no later than April 2023. As such, please only apply to the program if you are willing to commit to participate in the program regardless of whether it is a virtual, hybrid, or in-person program.

Who pays for the Student Leaders Program?

Expenses for the program are fully covered by the U.S. Department of State, MEPI. 

Who is eligible to apply for the 2023-2024 Student Leaders Program?

  • 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.  

I visited the United States before. Does that make me ineligible to participate in MEPI leadership programs such as Student Leaders?

It does not make you ineligible. You can still apply for MEPI-funded programs, although generally, we give priority to people who have never visited the United States before.

I thought students from my country were eligible to apply to the program. What if my country is no longer listed as a participating country for the Student Leaders Program?

The program does not cover all MENA countries, only those listed in the eligibility requirements.

The Student Leaders program is for students ages 20-24, but I missed my chance to apply last year and I am already 25! Can I still apply?

Only undergraduates and graduate students ages 20-24 at the time they participate in the program may apply. Applicants may be interested to learn about other MEPI-funded leadership programs. Individuals who would like to pursue their undergraduate or graduate studies may look into the Tomorrow’s Leaders Program. Individuals ages 28-35 may be eligible for a different program called the Leaders for Development Fellowship (LDF)

Can I apply for the program if my birth date falls a few days before or after (+/-a week) the set range of July 26, 1998 and June 28, 2003?

No, you cannot. Only applicants who were born between July 26, 1998 and June 28, 2003 may apply. You must be 20 to 24 years of age as of the program start date of June 28, 2023 and end date of July 26, 2023, with birth dates falling between July 26, 1998 and June 28, 2003. To calculate your age and ensure you fall within the eligible age range, please visit: myagecalculator.com

I will graduate in May 2023 right before the Student Leaders program begins. Can I still apply to it?

Yes, you can apply. If a student graduates before the Student Leaders Program begins in late June 2023, they must not graduate more than 6 months before the Student Leaders Program begins. In other words, they must not graduate before January 2023 (unless they will be enrolled in a graduate program in the August/September Fall 2023 semester – see next question below).

I graduated from my undergraduate program one year ago and am not enrolled in graduate school. Can I apply to the Student Leaders Program?

Students must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program when they apply. If a student is accepted to a graduate program but has not started it yet and will start the graduate program the semester immediately following the Student Leaders program (in the Fall 2023 semester, starting August/September 2023), the student can apply.

B. Application Timeline and Process

When is the application period for the 2023-2024 Student Leaders Program?

Applications for the Student Leaders Program 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, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. 

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

How can I apply for the Student Leaders Program?

To apply, go to this website: https://studentleaders-apply.smapply.io/ 

For any application questions, please contact SLProgram@georgetown.edu. Please make sure to read this FAQs page in its entirety so that you are not asking a question that has already been answered. 

Which entities are involved in the application review and approval process?

The application process for the Student Leaders Program involves the partnership of U.S. Embassies and/or Consulates, the U.S. Department of State MEPI office, and the primary implementer Georgetown University. 

What is the application process and timeline?

Eligible students from across the Middle East and North Africa region are strongly encouraged to apply for the Student Leaders Program from October 19, 2022 until December 19, 2022, with the exception of students from Kuwait, Israel, Qatar, and Lebanon. Eligible students in Kuwait, Israel, Qatar, and Lebanon are encouraged to apply from October 19, 2022 until January 3, 2023. After students have submitted their applications, U.S. Embassies and/or Consulates will review applications and shortlist candidates for interviews in January 2023. U.S. Embassies and/or Consulates will then send their nominations to the U.S. Department of State, MEPI office in DC to review and make final selections for Accepted and Waitlisted candidates. All applicants will be informed of their status no later than April 2023. Georgetown University manages the application platform and responds to applicant questions received on the SLProgram@georgetown.edu address. 

When can I expect to hear the results of my Student Leaders application?

All applicants will learn the results of their application no later than April 2023 via email sent through the application platform. Applicants will either be: Accepted (Finalist), Waitlisted (Alternate), or Rejected. U.S. Embassies and Consulates may also notify shortlisted candidates if they are selected or waitlisted.

During the application process, some applicants will be invited by their U.S. Embassy or Consulate to do interviews in January 2023. Due to the volume of applications, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will only reach out to shortlisted candidates for interviews. Being selected for an interview does NOT mean that a candidate is then automatically selected as a Finalist or Alternate for the program. If you have not been shortlisted for an interview in January/February 2023, then you likely did not make it to the final stage of the review. 

When will you announce whether this is an in-person, hybrid, or fully virtual program?

Accepted (Finalists) and Waitlisted (Alternates) candidates will be notified of the program modality when they are notified of their selection in April 2023.

C. Application Questions and Requirements

I see that in the application you ask about my access to technology/internet. I do not own a computer/I do not have reliable internet access. Can I still participate in the program if it is fully virtual or hybrid?

Yes! We ask these questions not to penalize you but rather, to get a better sense of your situation and what technology/internet assistance you might need in order to successfully participate in the program. 

I do not have a passport; can I apply with my government-issued national identification card (national ID)?

Yes, you can apply and upload a copy of your government-issued national identification card if you do not have a passport. If you do not have a passport OR if your passport has expired, please provide a copy of your national ID instead. In the meantime, be sure to apply for your passport or passport renewal, because, if selected as a program participant and the program is either in-person or hybrid, you will need a passport valid for at least 6 months after the program end date.

How many recommendation letters do I need?

You only need one.

How do I choose a recommender?

A recommender should be someone other than a friend or family member, who knows you well and has observed your academic, professional, or volunteer work (ex. professor, supervisor, co-worker).

What will happen if I choose “invite recommender”?

If you choose to “invite a recommender” an email will be sent to your recommender asking him/her to fill out a recommendation form and submit it on your behalf through the link provided.

Does my recommender have to use the recommendation form provided?

Yes, your recommender has to fill out the following recommendation form.

What is the format of the recommendation letter (hand-written, PDF, or Word)?

Please use the required recommendation format that is provided. The answers can be hand-written or typed by the recommender.

What language can the recommendation letter be written in?

Your recommendation letter should be submitted in English.

If I do not have a letter of recommendation, can I upload a certificate instead?

No, applicants are required to submit a recommendation letter.

Do I have to submit my school transcripts?

You are not required to upload actual transcripts but are required to upload documentation (which could include transcripts) to demonstrate your academic results from your most recent year of university studies.

I do not know how to convert my scores to Grade Point Average (GPA); can I provide my scores as shown in my transcripts or other academic records?

Yes, you can enter your scores as shown in your school transcripts or as shown in your other academic records. You can also use this calculator to convert your scores into a GPA: http://www.wes.org/students/igpacalc.asp 

Do I have to translate my documents before attaching them to the application form?

Your passport or identification card copy as well as academic records supporting your academic results from your most recent year of university studies do not need to be translated into English. 

What are the required components for the application? 

  • Eligibility Form – fill out and submit
  • Application Form - fill out and submit
  • Recommendation Form - upload or have recommender upload
  • Passport or Government Issued National ID (if you do not have a passport) - upload
  • CV or Resume – upload
  • Vaccination Card - upload
  • Academic results or letter certifying university enrollment - upload

If there is a question that was not answered in these FAQs, please email the Student Leaders Program at SLProgram@georgetown.edu. It will take 3-5 business days (Monday-Friday) to get back to your question. 


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