More about Middle East Partnership Initiative
The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a U.S. State Department program that supports organizations and individuals in their efforts to promote political, economic, and social reform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). MEPI provides direct support to both international and MENA-based NGOs, educational institutions, local governments and private businesses to implement projects designed to directly engage and invest in the people of the MENA region. Through these partnerships, MEPI helps build the capacity of those that serve as the regionâ€™s most successful agents of change - local civil society and business leaders, activists, scholars, students, and lawmakers. MEPI-supported projects cover a wide range of topics from voter education programs in Egypt, judicial reform seminars in the Persian Gulf, womenâ€™s literacy campaigns in Yemen, and a region-wide partnership program between U.S. and Middle Eastern universities. Two of MEPIâ€™s most prominent programs are its annual Student Leaders program that brings students from all over the region to participate in a summer-long seminar, and its Middle East Entrepreneur Training program, which assists aspiring young business and civil society leaders. MEPIâ€™s budget has been steadily increasing. After initially receiving $29 million, its budget in FY2005 was $75 million. As of 2009, MEPI has granted roughly $530 million to over 600 projects in 17 different countries, including the Palestinian Territories. In support of this Bush Administration's signature program, President Obama continued his support for MEPI and received a requested increase of $86 million from Congress targeted towards the Governing Justly and Democratically (GJD) objective. This program develops civil society in key locations in volatile regions covered by the State Department's Bureau of Near East Affairs(NEA).