Since 2007, the Leadership Development Fellowship (LDF Fellowship) has provided leaders from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the opportunity to complete training in civic engagement, social entrepreneurship, and leadership. Emerging civic engagement and social entrepreneurship leaders across sectors from the MENA region will participate in a 5-stage, 12-month Fellowship to identify innovative ways to address social and economic challenges in local communities. The LDF Fellowship is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and implemented by World Learning.

The LDF Fellowship is an intensive civic engagement and social entrepreneurship fellowship, and selected candidates are expected to fully participate in each stage of the LDF Fellowship. The LDF Fellowship will take place over 12 months and include 5 stages:

  1. Stage One: Fellowship begins with two weeks of in-person workshops and trainings with World Learning in partnership with Duke University focused on: studying the systems that contribute to societal challenges; building effective partnerships for social change; and developing inclusive and equitable interventions.
  2. Stage Two: Fellows refine interventions and complete exercises that provide local focus on systems analysis, inclusive interventions, building partnerships, and other acquired tools and knowledge from Stage One.
  3. Stage Three: Fellows spend three weeks in the United States as part of the English Track (for high-proficiency English speakers), or in Tunisia as part of the Arabic Track (for high-proficiency Arabic speakers), to gain academic and local insights into civic engagement and social entrepreneurship and to report and reflect on the findings of their Stage Two activities.
  4. Stage Four: Over six months, fellows apply the lessons of the LDF Fellowship and report on results to strengthen their ongoing civic and social entrepreneurial activities. During this stage, Fellows may apply for small grants or technical assistance.
  5. Stage Five: In the final month, the Fellows reconvene for three days to learn and share the impact of their LDF experience.

The 2022 LDF Fellowship is approximately twelve months in total starting from May 2022.


For the English Track, which includes a visit to the U.S. as part of Stage Three, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Eligible Countries:¬†Applicants must be from Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Israel, or Bahrain.
  • English Fluency:¬†Applicants must have strong written and oral English¬†proficiency¬†and be able to function comfortably in English-speaking academic and professional environments. All U.S.-based activities are conducted in English.

For the Arabic Track, which includes a visit to Tunisia as part of Stage Three, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Eligible Countries:¬†Applicants must be from Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, or Bahrain.

For both tracks, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Age:¬†Applicants must be between 28 and 35 years of age.
  • Professional Experience:¬†Applicants must have at least five years of professional work experience in a relevant field.
  • Civic Engagement and/or Social Entrepreneurship Experience:¬†Applicants must have a minimum of five years of civic engagement and/or social entrepreneurship experience.
  • Academic Background:¬†Applicants must have a bachelor‚Äôs degree.
  • Arabic Fluency: Applicants in both tracks must be able to function comfortably in Arabic-speaking academic and professional environments. Almost all virtual activities are conducted in Arabic.
  • Full¬†Participation:‚ÄĮApplicants must be willing and able to participate fully in all five stages of the¬†LDF¬†Fellowship. Fellows will travel out of the MENA region for two weeks at the beginning of the fellowship, for three weeks to either the U.S.¬†or Tunisia¬†during Stage Three,¬†and¬†again for three days at the end of the fellowship.
  • Application:¬†Applicants must have the capacity and ability to immediately apply the knowledge and skills gained throughout the LDF Fellowship.

Selection Criteria:

MEPI seeks‚ÄĮemerging leaders who are innovators and problem-solvers, are currently engaged in civic engagement and social entrepreneurship, can work in a cross-cultural setting, have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and commit to applying the learning and skills built during the LDF¬†Fellowship. Applicants who work on climate and environmental issues, diversity, equity, and inclusion, or gender inclusion and equality are encouraged to apply.

Applications will be reviewed based on clearly defined criteria, including that the applicant is an:

  • Engaged Doer.‚ÄĮThey have a track record of substantive and meaningful civic engagement or social entrepreneurship experience, they can identify at least one active civic engagement or social entrepreneurship project they will focus on throughout the fellowship, and they have the authority, ability, or support to immediately apply what they acquire during the fellowship in their project.
  • Inclusive Leader.‚ÄĮThey demonstrate that they have an inclusive mindset, such as humility, awareness of bias, a curiosity about others, an authentic commitment to diversity, and open to alternative ideas/perspectives, as well as a passion to give back to the community.
  • ‚ÄĮInquisitive:¬†They seek personal growth, actively pursue opportunities for personal and professional enrichment, and demonstrate the ability to think critically, contextualize acquired knowledge in real-world application, and transform lessons learned into tangible actions.
  • Mission-Driven Collaborator.‚ÄĮThey do already or are open to pursuing partnerships within local communities and collaborate effectively across sectors driven by a mission to achieve positive impact.

Those selected will come from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, organizations, and political affiliations. The LDF Fellowship does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical challenge, or social status. The LDF Fellowship seeks a gender-balanced pool of candidates and encourages applicants who belong to traditionally underserved groups and meet the eligibility criteria to apply.

The LDF Fellowship will cover the cost of international travel, lodging, and health insurance, and provide a modest living stipend to cover meals and incidentals during the in-person engagements.

Application Process: Applications for the 2022 LDF Fellowship will be available online from July 26, 2021 to August 27, 2021. The application process includes completing an online application; recording a short video statement; and submitting a resume, a professional reference form, a certificate of graduation, and a passport copy (if available).

Application Link:

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page here for common questions:

For questions about the LDF Fellowship please email

For the latest updates and announcements, please visit the LDF Fellowship Facebook page: or MEPI’s Facebook page:

For more information please open this link


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