2023 U.S.-Jordan Leadership Exchange Program (UJLEP) in USA

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Application Deadline: February 03, 2023


U.S.-Jordan Leadership Exchange Program (UJLEP) is a three-year program designed to support a new generation of collaborative, creative and values-driven Jordanian leaders who drive success and growth in their economy and civil society while strengthening ties between the U.S. and Jordan. To build skills essential to collaboration and interdisciplinarity, creative problem-solving and innovation, and equity and inclusion. The first phase of  UJLEP is a robust leadership training to judiciously selected diverse cohorts of fellows with demonstrated high potential in key economic and social development disciplines; the second phase of the program is U.S. exchange experience – including tailored practicums at selected U.S. host organizations, visits to entities working in the UJLEP disciplines, homestays with American families, volunteer work and cultural activities – will enhance fellows’ technical skills and understanding of U.S. culture. Through follow-on projects upon their return from the U.S., UJLEP fellows will practice their new leadership and technical skills, while benefitting Jordanian communities. Upon returning from the USA, UJLEP Alumni will be part of a sustainable Alumni Network providing the supporting infrastructure for their continued leadership journey. Alumni will have the opportunity to network across cohort years to develop new network connections, exchange technical expertise in their disciplines, and explore collaborations. Alumni will have the chance to partner with other alumni and with their U.S. host organizations in a small grants program for community-based solutions to local and regional issues, under which young specialists from the U.S. host organizations will come to Jordan for an abbreviated reciprocal exchange.

The Eight UJLEP Disciplines are:

  • Business and entrepreneurship;
  • civil society;
  • community engagement;
  • women’s empowerment;
  • diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility (DEIA);
  • civic participation;
  • public health;
  • environment and climate change.

Program Components:

  • Leadership Training in Jordan: The UJLEP fellows’ journey starts with an in-person training in Amman for a full day per week over eight weeks to increase their leadership skills. They will identify their core values, engage in experiential activities and start developing peer networks that are essential for personal and professional growth and well-being throughout the fellowship and beyond. To support their leadership skill-building journey, fellows will be provided key tools developed by IREX that help young leaders cement their learning and put it into practice. Foundational to the fellows’ leadership journey
  • U.S. Exchange Experience: Four-week U.S. exchange experience to provide fellows with tangible new knowledge and skills in their discipline that includes visits to organizations working on the specific issues of interest to each fellow. Fellows will have the chance for homestays with American families, and exposure to volunteer work. For four weeks, fellows will work collaboratively with their hosts on cutting-edge practices in their disciplines to implement their Practicum Workplan. Fellows’ practicums will be capped at 32 hours per week, to allow for visits and meetings with experts and organizations working in each fellow’s specific areas of interest. Community liaisons’ to youth leaders at community organizations to expose UJLEP fellows to the inspiring work and operations of volunteering networks that fill gaps in their communities.
  • Action Projects: Three-month implementation of Action Projects to let fellows put their technical and leadership talents to use in their home communities. UJLEP will conduct four short workshops (on outreach and partnerships, MEL, Communication Impact, and GESI) through virtual seminars to guarantee projects engage stakeholders and create achievable and ambitious goals. Action Projects will be low-budget and use community and partnership resources.
  • UJLEP Graduation ConferenceThe UJLEP Graduation Conference will provide each cohort with an opportunity to showcase their Action Projects’ results and impact to NEA/AC, Embassy Amman, and other partners and stakeholders. The conference will contribute to the outcome of fellows’ increased sense of agency.
  • UJLEP Alumni Network: UJLEP will foster a network through which alumni strengthen connections with each other, U.S. counterparts, and fellow professionals, such as speaking engagements and discussions. Alumni will select a Board to prepare a plan for networking and professional development activities.
  • UJLEP Small Grants Program: IREX will award three small grants of up to $5,000 each in each of the three rounds, which will provide a flexible funding mechanism for U.S.-Jordan cooperation on interdisciplinary community-based solutions to local and regional issues. IREX will issue three rounds of requests for applications (RFA), for proposals by teams of at least three alumni working in at least two Jordan-U.S. disciplines, as well as a U.S. host representative. Applicants have one month to prepare their proposals, and four months to implement their grant projects.
  • Reciprocal Exchanges: The Small Grants Program’s winning proposals are selected for a series of reciprocal exchanges between Jordan and the United States. IREX delivers a virtual pre-departure orientation for U.S. host representatives in winning Small Grants Program bids.  The 10-day reciprocal exchanges are designed to increase U.S. hosts’ capacity and understanding of the benefits of working with Jordan.

Eligibility Requirements:

Competition for the UJLEP Program is merit-based and open to emerging civil society and community Jordanian leaders who meet the following criteria:

  • Age 21-35;
  • Citizen of Jordan;
  • Currently living and studying/working in Jordan at the time of application;
  • Has a minimum of one-year of professional experience (work, internship, volunteer or initiatives) in one of the eight UJLEP disciplines: Business and entrepreneurship; civil society; community engagement; women’s empowerment; diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility (DEIA); civic participation; public health; and environment and climate change)at the time of application;
  • Able to begin the UJLEP Program in the United States in 2023;
  • Able to receive a U.S. J-1 Visa;
  • Committed to returning to their home country after completion of the program and implementing a community-based project; and, 
  • Proficient in spoken and written English at the time of application.
    • Finalists should be able to fulfill most communication goals, even on unfamiliar topics. They should understand the main ideas of both concrete and abstract writing and they should be able to interact with proficient speakers fairly easily. 

Individuals in the following circumstances are NOT eligible for the UJLEP Program:

  • U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents of the United States;
  • Individuals who have participated in an exchange visitor program sponsored or funded by the U.S. government (e.g., U.S. Department of State Public Affairs Section of U.S. embassies, or other U.S. government agencies) 
  • Individuals residing or working outside Jordan at the time of application .
  • Individuals who have applied for U.S. permanent residency in the past three years; and
  • Other criteria to be determined in consultation with ECA, including public-heath related status based on guidance from federal agencies at the time of application.

Financial Support:

The program covers the cost of most expenses associated with:

  • J-1 visa support
  • Round-trip travel from participants’ home city to the U.S.
  • Accommodation will be in a form of homestays with American families
  • Monthly allowance to cover transportation, meals, and other living expenses while in the U.S. and
  • Accident and sickness health benefits

Selection Process:

The UJLEP selection process is a merit-based yearly competition.  After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by independent readers.  These readers will use the following criteria to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):  

  • A demonstrated knowledge of, interest in, and professional experience in the preferred UJLEP discipline (Business and entrepreneurship; civil society; community engagement; women’s empowerment; diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility (DEIA); civic participation; public health; and environment and climate change); and  
  • The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and to respect the opinions of others.  
  • Strong social and communication skills;  
  • Strong commitment to the program. An energetic, positive attitude;  
  • Clear plan and commitment to return to Jordan and contribute skills and talents to build and serve their communities and interdisciplinary approach. 
  • Expressed commitment to contribute to Jordan’s development at the local and regional levels 
  • Strong commitment to cooperation, community and interdisciplinary approach 
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English (for Cohort 1 & 2) 
  • Vision: Ability to articulate, motivate action and engagement around a positive clear vision for change in the chosen discipline for self, others, and community 
  • Perseverance to make impact: Ability to persevere to overcome challenges and difficulties to make an impact in Jordanian communities 
  • Adaptability and learner mindset: ability to reflect on own skills, learn new skills and self-develop 
  • Communication: ability to clearly and respectfully communicate with people from diverse backgrounds 
  • Adaptability and learner mindset: ability to reflect on own skills, learn new skills and self-develop.

Visit the official website for details and application

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