The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)
The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a regional program that helps citizens in the Middle East and North Africa develop more pluralistic, participatory, and prosperous societies. From within the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau at the State Department, MEPI advances U.S. foreign policy goals by supporting citizens’ efforts at economic, social, and political empowerment, expanding opportunities for women and youth, and helping communities work alongside governments in shaping their own futures. MEPI’s activities underscore President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s commitment to democracy and civil society in the region, and follow the approach the President laid out in his Cairo speech: engaging with peoples as well as governments, in a spirit of mutual respect and rooted in a commitment to universal values.
MEPI staff, based in Washington, D.C., has two regional offices, one in the Arabian Peninsula Regional office, and the other in the MedRegion office, as well as offices in U.S. embassies throughout the MENA region. MEPI works to identify the needs articulated by the people of the region and create partnerships with NGOs, academic institutions, and even governments, to address those needs. MEPI’s funding is in
addition to the bilateral economic assistance the United States provides
annually to the countries in the region.
To better promote its objectives in the region by working directly with local partners on the ground, MEPI opened two Regional Offices in the summer of 2004. The Arabian Peninsula Regional office administers MEPI local grants in Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain while the MedRegion Office administers MEPI local grants in Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and West Bank/Gaza. The Regional Offices work directly with MEPI’s
partners, program participants, and other reformers at the grassroots level through the Local Grants program, as well as serve
as liaisons between MEPI’s central office in Washington, DC, and the U.S.
Embassies located in the region.
MEPI and Other Reform Efforts
MEPI is one of several democratic reform efforts taking place throughout the region. Whereas MEPI is a U.S. government bilateral program that responds to governance, economic, educational, and gender challenges, the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative (BMENA) is a separate, multilateral program undertaken by the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations. Launched at the G8 Sea Island Summit hosted by the United States in 2004, BMENA supports several reform initiatives, such as the Forum for the Future and the Foundation for the Future.