2016 Leaders for Democracy Fellowships – Deadline May 1, 2016

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut’s office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is pleased to announce the tenth year of the Leaders for Democracy Fellowship (LDF) program.

The LDF program provides emerging and mid-career civic leaders from the Middle East and North Africa with the opportunity to complete an academic training at the University of Virginia (UVA) and gain relevant professional experience within a practicum host organization in Washington, D.C.

Academic Component: The LDF program begins with five weeks of academic training on leadership, peace and conflict mitigation, comparative politics, civic engagement, advocacy, communication, and change management, among other topics. Fellows are expected to be active participants in all seminars, workshops and activities including theoretical debates and active skills-building sessions. Fellows are also expected to participate in group work, lead discussions and make presentations to the other Fellows in their cohort and to the broader UVA community.

Internship Component: After completing the academic portion of the program, each participant will engage in a nine-week practicum placement within a relevant non-governmental or public policy organization in Washington, D.C. Through this component participants will gain practical work experience and learn about the ways that such organizations interact with government and civil society. Fellows will also gain valuable knowledge, experience, skills and further professional contacts to benefit their respective professional pursuits back home. For each Fellow the internship component will culminate in the development and finalization of a project or deliverable of benefit to both the Fellow and the organization. These will be presented and shared with the rest of the cohort at the end of the component.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Be a Lebanese citizen or long-term Palestinian resident living in Lebanon and between 25 to 40 years old as of September 1, 2016;
  • Hold at least a bachelor’s degree;
  • Have at least five years of experience in a political reform oriented field (e.g., civil society, rule of law, human rights, family law reform);
  • Demonstrate a commitment to remaining in this field and a commitment to being a leader of positive change within Lebanon;
  • Exhibit leadership skills and the capacity to apply the benefits of the program in Lebanon;
  • Be fluent in English and able to function in a high-level academic and professional environment;
  • Not have recently completed a similar program in the U.S., and not subject to J visa restrictions.
  • Be available to participate in the program and travel unaccompanied from September December 2016.


  • Click here to download the Word Document application form (72 Kb).
  • Click here to download the Word Document reference form (60 Kb).
  • Applications & the reference form are due to the U.S. Embassy by May 1, 2016 – late or incomplete submissions will not be considered.
  • Applications can be hand-delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Awkar or submitted electronically to BeirutPD@state.gov.

As with all U.S. Embassy-sponsored programs, the U.S. Government pays for all major expenses, including roundtrip airfare, accommodation, and health insurance.  Competition is merit-based, and Lebanese citizens or long-term Palestinian residents from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Applicants will be considered without regard to race, religion, sex, age, and/or physical impairment.