Since 2007, the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) program has provided leaders from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the opportunity to complete training in civic engagement and leadership. Emerging civic engagement and social innovation leaders with fluency in Arabic will spend three months in Lebanon, while those with fluency in English will go to the United States, gaining academic and practical experience, as well as networking with like-minded peers and professionals. The LDF Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and implemented by World Learning.
Fellows in the English U.S.-based program first participate in an academic component at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, before being placed in host organizations aligned with their professional interests in Washington, D.C. for their practicum experience.
Fellows in the Arabic Lebanon-based program first attend an academic component at the American University of Beirut (AUB), before being placed in host organizations aligned with their professional interests for their practicum experience in Beirut.
The paired components of classroom and real-world work give Fellows the theoretical understanding and practical experience in civic engagement and social innovation required to help enable them to advance initiatives across the MENA region.
MEPI seeks candidates with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, proven leadership abilities, the ability to work in a cross-cultural setting and a commitment to the program and follow-on activities. To promote program sustainability and create a multiplier effect, participants will be required to end the program with targeted leadership objectives and a plan on how they plan to apply the lessons learned from the program when they return home.
This is an intensive civic engagement and social innovation program and selected candidates are expected to fully participate in each stage of the program. The LDF program cycle has four stages: an online Pre-Arrival Orientation Phase; an Academic Component (implemented in Beirut, Lebanon or Durham, North Carolina); a Practicum Component (implemented in Beirut, Lebanon, or Washington, D.C.); and an online Post-Program Monitoring Phase. The program in total is approximately nine months starting mid-April 2019 through mid-January 2020.
Applications will be reviewed based on clearly defined criteria, including:
- Applicants demonstrate a strong commitment to being leaders of positive change in their communities.
- Applicants demonstrate that they have already been actively engaged in civic engagement and/or social innovation activities for a minimum of three to five years.
- Applicants demonstrate tolerance and a desire to work collaboratively with a diverse cohort of peers irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, religion, political views and socioeconomic status.
- Applicants are interested in participating in the program and sharing the experience with others.
- Applicants commit to the implementation of a post-fellowship civic engagement and/or social innovation activity in his or her home country.
- Those selected will come from diverse backgrounds and LDF aims for gender balance.
- The Leaders for Democracy Fellowship will cover the cost of international and domestic travel, lodging, and health insurance, and provide a modest living stipend to cover meals and incidentals during the program.
For the English program in the U.S. applicants must:
- Be from Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Israel.
- Have full English fluency for the U.S. Program. Applicants should be able to function comfortably in English-speaking academic and professional environments.
For the Arabic program in Lebanon applicants must:
- Be from Syria, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Iraq.
- Have full Arabic fluency for the Lebanon Program. Applicants should be able to function comfortably in Arabic-speaking academic and professional environments.
Applicants for both programs must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Age: Applicants should be between 28 and 35 years of age.
- Professional Experience: Applicants should have at least five years of professional work experience in a relevant field.
- Civic Engagement and/or Social Innovation Experience: Applicants should have more than three to five years of experience working on civic and/or social innovation projects, or activism with NGOs in a professional capacity. Volunteer experience will be considered.
- Academic Background: Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree.
- Post Program: Have the capacity and commitment to apply the leadership development experience gained through the Fellowship program upon returning to home country.
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