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MEPI participant from Oujda Morocco

Updated on September 19, 2014

The Middle East Partnership Initiative: Student Leaders program is an exchange program sponsored by the U.S Department of state. It is an intensive fully funded 6 weeks program where participants learn about leadership, politics and develop their skills to become great tomorrow leaders.

Asmae Ourkiya, a twenty years old student from Oujda, Morocco applied to this program in February 2014, and found out that she was accepted to be a part of this adventure that will take place in the United States during the summer. The day of her departure to start the adventure of her life, she knew that it will change her positively, and that the day she comes back, she will apply everything she learned to serve her community. She was selected to study in Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. Living with 18 other MEPIs and five American students, she learned more than she thought she would. Classes during the week were intense and diverse, where all participants learned about different subjects such as democracy, leadership, politics, project management, etc...

During classes, students were divided into groups, and each group was supposed to work on a final presentation according to the theme they chose. The presentation's purpose was showing the steps and the plan that will be taken to make a change once they go back to their home countries. Working in a group made everyone realize that by listening and giving the other the chance to express himself, the impossible could be achieved!

After classes, participants enrolled in multiple activities to get to know each other more, volunteered in many organizations and spent their time exploring Illinois.

The presentations were a huge success, but that meant that the end is close! The students were taken to spend five days with host families in Wausau, Wisconsin, and then went to a luxury hotel in Chicago, where they spent five other days exploring the wonderful city.

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