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National & International Collaborations

Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)

Summer 2012 | Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a U.S. State Department program that works to identify the needs articulated by the people of the Middle East and North Africa region, and create partnerships with NGOs, academic institutions, and governments to address those needs.  The MEPI program at PSU, called the Action Community Team (ACT!), is a comprehensive, six-week program that utilizes experiential learning to develop civic leadership skills. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students in the Middle East and North Africa to affect change in their home communities.

Portland State University (PSU) and Mercy Corps (MC) collaborate to deliver this six-week program, which incorporations PSU's internationally recognized civic leadership development curriculum in close collaboration with its Student Leaders for Service (SLS) program. Its goal is to give MEPI student leaders a multi-dimensional view of U.S. society and institutions through classroom and community-based learning. Significant, distinctive MEPI programmatic elements include: 48 hours of formal classroom learning in community development, public administration, and conflict resolution theory and praxis; integrated peer mentoring with PSU’s student leaders; community-based experiential learning with Portland-based governmental and non-profit organizations; digital storytelling with broad web-based dissemination and global video conferencing; training and development of action plans to be implemented in participants’ home countries; and a week of field work, formal presentations, and reflective activities in the San Francisco, CA area.