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Student Leaders Program (SLP)

Funding for the Student Leaders Program is provided by the U.S. Department of State.

Program Overview

Program Activities

Meet SLP Faculty and Staff 

Example Calendar Overview

Important Travel Information

What to Bring

Accommodations, Meals and Facilities

Portland and PSU


In 2012, PSU joined five other U.S. universities as part of the U.S. Department of State's Student Leaders Program (SLP). SLP brings students from the Middle East and North Africa for five weeks of education and hands-on learning. PSU’s program is collaboratively designed by senior staff and faculty from the Public Administration Department, the Conflict Resolution DepartmentMercy Corps and the Center for Public Service.

PSU offers a multi-dimensional learning approach that equips SLP participants with knowledge and skills in civic leadership and community development for implementation in their home communities.

PSU's SLP program integrates education, community partnerships, and leadership training. Cross-disciplinary instruction is provided by PSU faculty, and students receive hands-on training through Mercy Corps' Action Center. Educational activities are supplemented by cultural and social experiences in Portland and outside the city.

The program begins and ends in Washington, DC, where SLP students participate in discussions and activities with legislators, U.S. Department of State officials, and representatives from their host schools. In addition, students will travel to the San Francisco Bay Area, to participate in a week of field work, formal presentations, and reflective activities. Several months after the program ends, SLP participants are invited to attend the Alumni Professional Development Conference in the Middle East or North Africa.

Why SLP?

SLP Action Plans

Over the course of four weeks, each SLP student goes through a process of individually applying the skills and tools of a basic needs assessment, to better analyze a local challenge within their home community.

The Action Plan enables students to create positive change in their communities by identifying the causes of a problem, relationship dynamics within and between community groups, and the services and needs being met by different organizations.

The steps in the plan engage students to create clear goals and measurements of success, and help them understand the dynamic nature of action planning and how to adjust as they move through the process.

Action Plan presentation from Anan Maalouf, SLP alumnus 2015:

We invite you to click here to watch more SLP Action Plan presentations from the 2015 PSU SLP cohort.

PSU & Mercy Corps

Portland State University partners with Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organization based in Portland, Oregon.

At Mercy Corps, SLP students are trained in action project design and build relationships with youth leaders throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

After students return to their home countries, program faculty and staff continue to provide support as students implement their action plans, utilizing video conference for discussions and problem solving sessions. Through Mercy Corps, students have access to a global network of youth leaders.

Learn more about Mercy Corps:

SLP Stories

Digital Stories are a vehicle to capture the journey and the impact of the SLP student experience. We invite you to watch the video below and to click here to view the digital stories from the 2012 SLP cohort.

Haya Hesam Al-Kurd, SLP alumna 2012:

SLP Conference

Months after participating in the SLP program, students are invited to attend a SLP Alumni Conference. Students present on the progress of their projects, receive feedback from SLP staff and reconnect with peers.

Highlights from the 2014 SLP Alumni Conference:

SLP Countries

  • Algeria
  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Oman
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Qatar
  • Saudia Arabia
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen

PSU SLP on Facebook at

Learn more about SLP. Visit

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