The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Program is a fully-funded, six-week intensive leadership training program in the United States for undergraduate students between the ages of 18-24.

Participants will attend one of six selected U.S. colleges and universities, and will develop leadership and collective problem-solving skills while exploring U.S. history and culture and expand their leadership skills to help promote democratic principles in their home countries.

The program will last from June 25 to August 7, 2014 and will consist of two components.  The first component is a five-week academic residency that includes comparative analysis of leadership styles, conflict resolution and group dynamics, the role of civil society in the democratic process, and social and political change management.  The second component is a one-week educational study tour designed to complement and reinforce the concepts explored in the academic residency.

Students will also participate in an alumni conference in the Middle East or North Africa in early 2015.  The costs of the program and the alumni conference, including travel expenses for the alumni selected to participate, will be fully covered.

Eligibility Requirements

Ideal candidates:

  • Are 18 to 24 years as of June 25, 2014;
  • Demonstrate English language ability;
  • Are committed to returning to Lebanon following completion of the program;
  • Demonstrate strong leadership potential;
  • Indicate serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • Have a sustained level of academic achievement;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement;
  • Have no prior travel experience to the United States, and limited or no study or travel experience outside Lebanon;
  • Are willing and able to participate fully in the program;
  • Are comfortable with campus life, sharing living accommodations while traveling with a multinational group, and adjusting to cultural and social practices different from Lebanon; and
  • Comfortable with spending Ramadan and Eid in the U.S.

Participant must be a Lebanese citizen or long-term Palestinian resident, living in Lebanon, and attending college or university in Lebanon.

For more information, click here.

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Rotimi Olawale, co-founder of is a youth development expert. For more than six years he has been involved in leading youth advocacy efforts mainly around the Millennium Development Goals. In 2006, he represented Nigeria as a youth ambassador at the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Summit held at the UN Headquarters in New York. Rotimi has held several global leadership positions including; member, UNFPA Global Youth Advisory Panel for 2 years; member, African Youth Panel. Rotimi is currently involved in shaping local, national and global policies to benefit youth and also leverage opportunities for young people. He was listed by the Nigerian government as one of 15 Nigerian youth on the world stage in 2008.