Application for the 2018 MEPI Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Program is Now Open! 

Accepting Applications starts on January 8th till February 15th, 2018

The US Embassy in Tel-Aviv’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program and the international non-profit organization, World Learning, are pleased to announce a call for applications for the twelfth year of the Leaders for Democracy Program in the United States. The fellowship will run from July 28 -October 20, 2018. 

Project Preview: Since 2007, the program has provided early and mid-career professionals from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the opportunity to complete training in leadership, civic engagement, participatory governance, conflict transformation, and effective communication. Fellows spend three months in the United States to gain academic skills and practical experience as well as networking opportunities with like-minded peers and professionals.

The Leaders for Democracy is an advanced fellowship program for up to 44 community and civic leaders (age 25-35) who are provided academic training on leadership, civic engagement, participatory governance, conflict transformation, and effective communication. For 2018, Fellows will train at Duke University. Fellows are placed in renowned institutions in the U.S. related to their expertise, and develop civic action plans for implementation upon return to their countries. The Fellowship program in the U.S. will run from July 28 – October 20, 2018.

Fellows chosen to participate in the program will travel to the United States to first attend a four-week academic component at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  Program participants will subsequently be placed in host organizations aligned with their professional interests for an eight-week practicum experience in Washington, D.C.

Academic Component: The LDF program begins with four weeks of an intensive group academic training focusing on a variety of topics falling under the four primary themes of participatory governance, civic engagement, conflict transformation, and effective communication. The concept of Applied Leadership will be interwoven throughout the program. Fellows are required to be full-time, active participants in all seminars, workshops and activities including theoretical debates, site visits and active skills-building sessions. Fellows are also expected to participate in group work, lead discussions and make presentations to the other Fellows in their cohort and to the broader Duke community. 

Professional Practicum Component: After completing the academic portion of the program, each participant will engage in an eight-week practicum placement within a relevant non-governmental organization in Washington, D.C. Through this component, participants will gain practical work experience and learn about the ways that such organizations interact with government and civil society. Fellows will also gain valuable knowledge, experience, skills and further professional contacts to benefit their respective professional pursuits back home. 

Civic Action Projects and Planning (CAPP): To promote program multiplier effect, throughout the program, participants will create and implement follow-on Civic Action Projects and Planning (CAPP) projects in their home communities. CAPP project ideas can be a new idea developed by the Fellow or an existing idea that the Fellow would like to build upon.

Costs: The LDF program, through World Learning, will cover international and domestic travel program-related costs, health and accidental coverage, double-occupancy housing accommodation, and a modest stipend to cover the cost of meals and incidental expenses in the United States for all Fellows.

Primary Program Rules and Regulations: Beyond the requirement to follow all J-1 regulations, all Fellows are expected to follow LDF Program regulations including: travel to and from the United States in unaccompanied status as family members are not permitted to travel and accompany Fellows on the program; stay in the double-occupancy lodging accommodation provided by the program; and attend the full length of the program with full-time participation in program activities.

Detailed information on the LDF program can be found at Applications will only be accepted in English. 


  1. s/he is an Arab citizen of Israel, currently living and working in Israel, with no dual American-Israeli citizenship or permanent residents of the United States;
  2. s/he is between the age of 25-35 years old at the time of the program (July 28 – October 20, 2018);
  1. s/he has at least five years of experience working as a professional in a field related to one of the program’s primary themes (leadership, participatory governance, civic engagement, conflict transformation, and effective communication);
  1. s/he should demonstrate a strong commitment, motivation 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. Commitment will include applying 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;
  1. s/he should exhibit leadership skills over time and the capacity to apply the experiences and opportunities presented in this program in a project that will benefit an organization, sector, or specific community upon her/his return;
  1. s/he has strong English language fluency sufficient to function successfully in a high-level academic and professional environment.
  1. s/he has at least a bachelor’s degree and the demonstrated ability to succeed in a demanding and intensive academic and professional organization environment;
  1. s/he must demonstrate tolerance and a desire to work collaboratively with a diverse cohort of peers irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, religion, political views and socioeconomic status;
  1. s/he has not already completed a similar academic degree or internship in the United States, and is not subject to any J-visa restrictions.
  1. DOS and USAID 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 (e.g. World Learning and sub-awardees Duke University 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:

The site is scheduled to go live (start accepting applications) on January 8th, 2018 and application Deadline is February 15th, 2018. 

Please note that that the application site/system will close on Feb 16th and will no longer accept any application.

Each candidate should submit the following application materials

  1. LDF Application Form.
  2. Professional Reference – Applicants are asked to provide the name and contact information of a professional reference who will be asked to submit reference information via the online application system. 

If you have any question please send us an email to

Interviews: Due to the high volume of applications, only successful applicants will be notified and invited for personal interviews to be held at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv

For more information on the program: please check the following sites/links:

We look forward to receiving your applications!

The United States Embassy – Tel Aviv