Application for the 2018 MEPI Student Leaders Program is Now OPEN!

Program Dates: June 25th to August 4th, 2018

Application deadline: December 14th, 2017 DEADLINE EXTENDED till January 1, 2018

The U.S Embassy in Tel Aviv is now receiving applications for the 2018 Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Program!

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 outstanding undergraduate and graduate students from across the MENA region an intensive leadership training course. Students attend U.S. academic institutions where they develop leadership skills and expand their understanding of civil society and participatory governance and how both may be applied in their home communities.

Host Universities: Students will be placed by the program implementer at one of the four different universities; Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.), Montana State University, the University of Delaware, and Portland State University. Each host university will design its own course materials, schedule, and program activities. All academic programs will address common themes including:  a comparative analysis of leadership styles; consensus-building, conflict resolution, individual and collective problem-solving, and group dynamics; the role of civil society; public speaking; and job-seeking skills. The program will include coursework/trainings as well as field visits to complement and reinforce the concepts explored in the trainings. Students will live amongst their peers and interact with Americans in local communities.

Logistics: The program is fully funded by the US State Department through the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. 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

Alumni Activities: MEPI Leadership Program alumni qualify as Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau (ECA) alumni.  In addition, MEPI is launching a new MEPI Alumni Engagement program in 2018.  Upon completion of the MEPI Student Leaders program, participants will have the opportunity to engage with the active alumni networks in their home countries as well as across the region. The MEPI Alumni Engagement program implementer will plan alumni engagement activities through in-person trainings and other methods.

Throughout the years, MEPI Student Leaders Alumni network has grown to over 2,000 in number, and with incredible success:

  • 2015 Alumnus, Mahdi Lafram and his team at the Environmental Youth Program (EYA) project campaigned and organized four local environmental awareness events in Agadir engaging more than 100 local young people. Building a social media audience of thousands, he published original multimedia, multilingual content to campaign for environmental conservation across Morocco.
  • 2012 Alumnus, Mohamed Hamed launched The Mariam Foundation in Israel to address the needs of all individuals battling cancer by raising awareness, financially supporting cancer patients, and collaborating with healthcare providers throughout the region to reach more people in need.
  • 2010 Alumna, Sara Marie capitalized on her experience through MEPI and received a Fulbright scholarship to study for a Master’s of Public Administration at University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.  Sara Marie’s success showcases how programs like the MEPI Student Leaders and Fulbright, coupled with the a set of skills that they acquire through the program sow seeds of leadership in the brains and hearts of those young students, and  put them on the  path to success.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Participant must be an Arab citizen of Israel currently living and studying in Israel.
  • Dual American-Israeli citizens, permanent residents of the United States or citizens of another OECD member country are not eligible to apply.
  • Demonstrate the strong English language skills needed to participate in a U.S. academic program;
  • Are 20 to 24 years of age as of the program start date of June 25, 2018 and end date of August 4, 2018 (birthdates falling between August 4, 1994 and June 25, 1998);
  • Have a sustained high level of academic achievement and currently attending an undergraduate or graduate program, have graduated from an undergraduate program within 6 months or less from the program start date of June 25, 2018 or will commence graduate studies in the fall 2018 semester in their home country; will not be commencing study in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in the USA during the fall 2018 USA academic semester;
  • Are committed to returning to Israel following completion of the program;
  • Demonstrate strong leadership potential;
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • Are not a third country national of the nominating country; Demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement;
  • Have no prior travel experience in the United States or Canada and limited to no study or travel experience outside Israel:
  • Are willing and able to participate fully in intensive academic, community service, and educational travel activities;
  • Are comfortable with campus life, sharing living accommodations while traveling with a multinational group of participants from the Middle East and North Africa region and with U.S. citizens, and making adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries/communities;
  • Are comfortable living with another program participant of the same sex in a shared room as well as traveling to the USA and participating in the program without friends or family;

Application and Deadline:

The interested candidates should submit their application online through the following link:  by Thursday, December 14th, 2017.DEADLINE EXTENDED till January 1, 2018 Please note that you need to create an account in order to sign-in and submit your application via the following link:

For any question please send an email to

Each candidate must submit the following application materials:

  1. Online application with the following information:
  • Complete contact information (including mailing address, email, and phone number).
  • Education information (name of college/university and anticipated degree completion dates, field of study and evidence of high academic achievement).
  • Details of any previous travel or study outside of home country, including dates.
  1. Updated resume highlighting civic engagement, leadership and/or work experience, extracurricular activities, and academic honors; and grades average.
  2. A copy of the photo page of candidate’s passport;
  3. A Response, in 500 words or less, to only two of the following questions:
  • Question I. 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?
  • Question II. 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.
  • Question III. 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 impact 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.

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 by early February 2018, whether they’ve passed the first stage or were rejected. PLEASE NOTE: Incomplete or late applications will NOT be accepted.

Information Sessions:
We are glad to announce that we will be holding open information sessions for the 2018 MEPI Student Leaders Program at several locations and universities. The sessions will be led by our alumni who will provide all the information needed about the program and share their personal experiences during their stay in the US as participants.
The sessions will take place at:

  • Nazareth – The Mariam Foundation Office: Monday, December 4th at 16:00.
  • University of Haifa: Wednesday, December 6th at 16:00: Room 715, Main Building.
  • Tel Aviv University: Monday, December 11th (To be confirmed)
  • The Hebrew University in Jerusalem (To be confirmed)

For more information about the sessions and to confirm attendance, please feel free to contact us at<>.

Thank you for your interest in the MEPI Students Leaders Program.
We look forward to receiving your application!

For more information on MEPI please check