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2021 MEPI Student Leaders Program

Applications for the 2022 Student Leaders Program are now closed.

Program Information

The Student Leaders Program (SLP) is a rigorous leadership and civic engagement program competitively selected undergraduate 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 (SLP) 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 5-week program, and is tentatively scheduled to take place from June 29 until July 28, 2022. 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.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must have ability to fully participate in the intensive summer program in late June 2022 to the end of July 2022;
  • Are 20 to 24 years of age as of the program start date of June 29, 2022 and end date of July 28, 2022 (birth dates falling between July 28, 1998 and June 29, 2002);
  • Demonstrate the strong English language skills needed to participate in a U.S. academic program;
  • Are committed to returning to or remaining in their home country/community following completion of the program;
  • Demonstrate strong leadership potential;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement;
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • Are not a third-country national of the nominating country;
  • 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 29, 2022 or will commence graduate studies in the Fall 2022 semester in their home country; will not be commencing study in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in the USA during the fall 2022 USA academic semester;
  • Preference will be given to those applicants from households with limited family income, no prior travel experience in the United States or Canada, and limited to no study or travel experience outside their home country;
  • Are willing and able to participate fully in virtual or in person intensive academic, community service, and educational travel activities;
  • In the case of an in-person program, 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; and
  • In the case of an in-person program, 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 any accompanying friends or family members.
  • In the case of a fully virtual or hybrid program, are able to balance competing obligations of the intensive program with home circumstances of family, school, work, etc; 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 region and with U.S. citizens.

How do participants apply? 

Participants apply for the program online at  https://studentleaders-apply.smapply.io/.


The application for the 2022-2023 Student Leaders Program will close on December 13, 2021, at 23:59 GMT.

Frequent Asked Questions

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

This is entirely dependent on the global 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 2022. 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.

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

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

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. Individuals ages 28-35 may be eligible for a different program called the Leaders for Development Fellowship (LDF). Please visit: Leadership Development Fellowship | The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) (state.gov) to see whether you may be eligible for that program.

Can I apply for the program if my birth date falls a few days before or after (+/-a week) the set range of July 28, 1998 and June 29, 2002?

No, you cannot. Only applicants who were born between July 28, 1998 and June 29, 2002 may apply. You must be 20 to 24 years of age as of the program start date of June 29, 2022 and end date of July 28, 2022, with birth dates falling between July 28, 1998 and June 29, 2002

I will graduate in May 2022 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 2022, they must not graduate more than 6 months before the Student Leaders Program begins. In other words, they must not graduate before January 2022 (unless they will be enrolled in a graduate program in the August/September Fall 2022 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 2022 semester, starting August/September 2022), the student can apply.

When is the application period for the 2022 Student Leaders Program?

Applications for the Student Leaders Program will be accepted starting on October 13, 2021 and the deadline for applications is December 13, 2021.

How can I submit an application 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, also call us at 07704432032. We will receive your calls every day from Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.