Student Leaders Program

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

Student Leaders Program

SLP at Portland State University

SLP Students

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 Departments of Public Administration, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Conflict Resolution 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 project management training. 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 spend a weekend in the Seattle area, participating in field work, formal presentations, and reflective activities. Several months after the program ends, SLP participants are invited to attend the Accelerator Workshop in the Middle East or North Africa.

SLP Countries

  • Algeria
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
Why SLP?

Community Engagement Plan presentation from Anan Maalouf, SLP alumnus 2015

SLP Community Engagement 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 Community Engagement 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.

PSU, Mercy Corps and the Portland Art Museum (PAM)

Portland State University partners with Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organization, and the Portland Art Museum, both based in Portland, Oregon.

SLP Accelerator Workshop

Months after participating in the SLP program, students are invited to apply to attend a SLP Accelerator Workshop. Students present on the progress of their projects, receive feedback from SLP staff, attend professional development sessions, and reconnect with peers.

Highlights from the 2014 SLP Accelerator Workshop