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Program and Curriculum Overview

ACT! PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Portland-based ACT! program is an integrated experience that involves education, community partnerships, and leadership training. Cross-disciplinary classroom instruction is provided by PSU faculty, and students receive hands-on training through Mercy Corps' Action Center. MEPI students also work in close collaboration with PSU Student Leaders for Service on projects at local community-based organizations. These educational activities are supplemented by cultural and social experiences within the PSU and broader Portland community, and with planned weekend trips to destinations beyond the city. The program begins and ends in Washington, DC, where MEPI students participate in discussions and activities with legislators, U.S. Department of State officials, and meet representatives from their host schools. In addition, students will travel to the San Francisco, CA Bay Area, to participate in a week of field work, formal presentations, and reflective activities. Several months after the program ends, MEPI participants are invited to attend the Alumni Professional Development Conference in the Middle East or North Africa.

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

PSU's Action Community Team (ACT!) program offers a dynamic schedule that incorporates various learning strategies both inside and outside the traditional classroom environment. Weekday mornings are dedicated to classroom instruction in community development, public administration, and conflict resolution theory with Portland State University faculty. Two afternoons per week, ACT! students meet at Mercy Corps’ Portland-based Action Center, where they receive hands-on training in action plan development and implementation. This includes using digital storytelling and global video conferencing, as well as focusing on the development of individualized ACT! plans to be implemented in participants’ home countries upon return.

Although daily classroom activities vary each year, this sample syllabus provides an example of the curricular focus.

SCHEDULE-AT-A-GLANCE

Here's a sample schedule of a typical week in the ACT! program.

  MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY
7am Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Homestay or
other weekend
activities/
free time
8am
9am Class Class

Class or
Community
Based
Learning

Class Class
10am
11am
12pm Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1pm
2pm

Class

Mercy
Corps
Training
Community
Based
Learning
Mercy
Corps
Training
Social
Activites/
Free Time
3pm
4pm
5pm Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner
6pm
7pm Movie
Viewing/
Free Time
Free
Time
Free
Time
Contemporary
Issues
Discussion/
Free Time
Social
Activites/
Free Time
8pm
9pm


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