Applications for the 2020 MEPI Student Leaders Program are open!

Program Dates: June 24th to July 29th 2020

Application deadline: December 3, 2019 – Deadline extended till Dec 13th, 2019

The U.S Embassy in Israel will start receiving applications for the 2020 Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Program from October 2019 till December 3, 2019 (Deadline extended till Dec 13th, 2019).

The MEPI Student Leaders Program is a fully-funded intensive 5-week training program in four U.S.-based universities for about 60 undergraduate and graduate students (age 20-24) from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Students learn about leadership, civil society, and government processes and how they may apply these skills in their home countries.

Program Overview: The MEPI Student Leaders program offers an intensive 5-week training program held at four U.S. universities for about 60 undergraduate and early-stage graduate students (age 20-24) from the MENA region.  Students gain hands-on knowledge about leadership, civic engagement, social entrepreneurship, and decision-making processes and learn how to apply these skills in their home countries

Logistics: The program is fully funded by the US State Department through the US Embassy in Israel. It is anticipated that participants will arrive and depart through Washington, D.C. in order to participate in U.S. Department of State welcome and farewell ceremonies and informational briefings and debriefings. Due to the rigorous academic and program schedule, travel to visit family or friends elsewhere in the United States will not be permitted before, during (including on weekends during the academic residency period), or after the program. Students must immediately return home upon conclusion of the program. All participants are expected to travel unaccompanied.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Participant must be an Arab citizen of Israel currently living and studying at a university or college in Israel;
  • Applicants must be a student studying at a university or a college in Israel;
  • Applicants must be between the ages of 20 and 24 during the entirety of the SLP.  The eligible birthdate range must fall between July 29, 1996 and June 24, 2000.  Candidates must not be born prior to, or after the listed birthday range;
  • Dual American-Israeli citizens, permanent residents of the United States are not eligible to apply;
  • Not a third country national of the nominating country.
  • Be able to communicate with excellent English skills (both oral and written);
  • Perform at high-level of academic achievement and currently attending an undergraduate or graduate degrees program (or have graduated from an undergraduate program within 6 months or less before the program start date), or will commence graduate program start date), or will commence graduate studies in the U.S.  degree program for the 2019-2020 Fall academic semester;
  • Are committed to returning to Israel after the completion of the program;
  • Possess strong evidence of leadership potential;
  • Dedicated to civic engagement
  • Possess a serious interest in learning about the United States
  • Have no prior travel experience in the United States and limited to no study or travel experience outside Israel:
  • Able and willing to participate fully in the intensive 5-week academic, community service and educational travel activities;
  • Open to campus life, sharing living accommodations with another participant of the same sex and traveling with multinational group of participants for the MENA region including U.S.  citizens (without family and friends); and
  • Possess flexibility and adaptability to new cultures and social settings.
  • Department of State, USAID or any other USG employees and their immediate family members (spouses and dependent children) are NOT eligible to apply to MEPI exchange programs. If a State Department Officer or Locally Employed Staff and/or his/her immediate family members would like to apply to a DOS-funded MEPI exchange program, the applicant(s) may only do so after a period of one year after termination of DOS employment. Current employees (and immediate family members) of any private or public agencies under contract to DOS to that perform administrative, implementation, and/or screening services on behalf of DOS for the exchange program are also NOT eligible to apply to participate in the exchange program.

Application and Deadline:

The interested candidates should submit their application online  through the following link:  by TuesdayDecember  3, 2019. Please note that you need to create an account in order to sign-in and submit your application, so make sure you start the process ahead of time! Don’t wait till the last day! For any question or technical problem please send an email to

The SLP online application includes the following candidate criteria information:

  1. Candidate’s complete contact information, including mailing address, email, and phone number;
  2. Candidate’s updated resume highlighting civic engagement, leadership and/or work experience, extracurricular activities, and academic honors;
  3. A copy of the photo page of candidate’s passport;
  4. Name of candidate’s college/university and anticipated degree completion dates;
  5. Candidate’s field of study;
  6. Evidence of high academic achievement;
  7. Details of any previous travel or study outside of home country, including dates; and
  8. Candidate’s response to three questions (500 words or less per response):
  9. The Student Leaders program offers outstanding students leadership training to expand their understanding of and potential contribution to civic and economic engagements.  How are you a leader?  True leaders constantly evolve.  Provide us with 1-3 concrete examples of how you built and strengthened your advocacy capacity and skills in dealing with a challenge.  Did you use your leadership skills to cope with a problem, enact change, or help and inspire others?  What did you learn from this experience?  How has your leadership style improved as a result?  What was the impact of this change on you and the people around you?
  10. Tell us about a public figure whose moral convictions you most aspire to emulate.  Which key characteristics of that person do you see within yourself, and in which ways are you dissimilar?  Discuss how these characteristics sometimes prove to be negative.  Be creative: this person can be from any era.  We strongly encourage that you select someone the selection committee would recognize by avoiding relatives or teachers.
  11. Imagine that you win a $50,000 grant to engage in an activity within your reach.  The project must be concrete and be done within one year and benefit your community (cannot include bringing peace to your country or solving world hunger).  The endeavor you choose should promote self-growth as a leader and significantly affect your community.  Please provide details of how you would spend your year, why are you motivated to do this, and what are the benefits that this endeavor would bring to yourself and to your community.

 Personal Interview:

The U.S. Embassy will conduct personal interviews for selected candidates. Participants travel to the U.S. on a J-1 visa to be facilitated by the Embassy upon acceptance.

All Applicants will be notified around April 2020, whether they’ve passed the first stage or were rejected. PLEASE NOTE: Incomplete or late applications will NOT be accepted.

Thank you for your interest in the MEPI Students Leaders Program.


We look forward to receiving your application!

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