MEPI Student Leaders Program
The MEPI Student Leaders Program is an exchange program for undergraduate student leaders from the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. Department of State sponsors this initiative. The CIED-designed curriculum allows students to develop leadership skills and expand their understanding of civil society and democratic leadership. Following the exchange, CIED supports students as they apply what they have learned in their home communities.
Students, selected through a competitive and merit-based process, take part in an intensive 6-week exchange program in the United States that combines theory and practice. Academic sessions and professional site visits allow students to gain a deeper understanding of governance, civil society, and democratic processes. Practical training in the form of leadership retreats and volunteer internships allow them to develop concrete leadership and organizational skills.
Students also have many opportunities to meet their American peers, engage in local activities, and observe governmental functions at the local, state, and federal levels. The program includes study tours to various regions of the United States which give students the ability to explore program themes in multiple American communities.
After the exchange, CIED works with participants to implement civic engagement programs in their home communities. In addition, CIED develops an alumni conference, held approximately six months after the U.S. exchange, to assess student learning and provide additional leadership training.
The MEPI Student Leaders Program is sponsored by the U.S Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). CIED has administered this initiative since 2004 and leads the partnership institutions since 2017 that include University of Delaware, Montana State University and Portland State University.
“MEPI instilled in me the core value of celebrating the value of diversity with a continuous pursuit of equality. Living with a group of people from the Arab world who are all so different and diverse highlighted the importance of gaining exposure to other cultures, understanding others’ perspectives, and finding mutual ground of agreement.”
“The MEPI program taught me to be a leader. Change is possible only by seeking it in the people around us, as well as in ourselves.”
-Mohamed Tahar Belkheir, Algeria
When Gamaleldin Tarakhan came to the U.S. during the 2017 Student Leaders Program (SLP) at Georgetown University, he was inspired by seeing environmentally sustainable and resource efficient green buildings used in the United States. The new leadership skills he developed during the Student Leader Program strengthened his resolve to improve the field of architecture in his home city of Benghazi, Libya.
Khaled Ghanayem, an alumnus of the MEPI Student Leaders Program, is leading the effort to help people with disabilities in Israel and across the world. He and his team developed a revolutionary technology that helps smartphone users with mobility impairments gain better control of their devices.