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MEPI – Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF)

Please check our website frequently for updates on the next program cycle and application period.

The Middle East Partnership Initiative Leaders for Democracy Fellowship Program (MEPI LDF) is a three-month program in the United States for young and mid-career civic activists and democratic reform leaders from the Middle East and North Africa.  The program begins with five weeks of academic coursework, in which fellows focus on the concepts of leadership, democracy, democratic transitions around the globe, comparative politics, civil society, communication, conflict resolution, and change management, among others.  Fellows complete relevant seminars and workshops that include theoretical debates as well as active, practical skills-building sessions.  After completing the academic portion of the program, participants engage in a seven-week professional assignment with a political, non-governmental, or public policy organization of professional interest in Washington, DC. Through this program component, participants will gain practical experience about the ways in which such institutions interact with government and civil society, while also gaining valuable knowledge, experience, skills, and professional contacts to benefit their professional pursuits in their home countries.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Competition for the LDF is merit-based and is open to young professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 with a bachelor's degree and English language fluency.  Fellows should be able to function at full capacity in an English-speaking academic and professional environment.
  • Applicants should have five years of work experience, as well as demonstrated leadership skills and a desire to apply the skills they have learned during the fellowship to benefit an organization, sector, or specific community in Iraq.
  • Applicants should not have already completed a similar academic program or internship in the United States.
  • Applicant must meet U.S. Government program exchange J-visa requirements.
  • At the time of application and while participating in the program, Fellows must be citizens and residents of Iraq and cannot hold U.S. citizenship or be a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident.

Note: All Fellows are expected to travel to the United States unaccompanied.

For questions about the program please email