What is the Ibrahim leadership and dialogue student travel program in the Middle East with Queens College?

The Ibrahim and Queens College Student Leadership Program is a fully funded month-long fellowship that provides an opportunity for U.S. undergraduate students of diverse backgrounds to develop their leadership skills and gain firsthand experience with interfaith dialogue, social entrepreneurship, and conflict transformation efforts in the Middle East.

What does the program offer?

• Ibrahim leadership and dialogue student travel program in the Middle East with Queens College provides an opportunity for high-achieving U.S. university students with strong leadership potential to gain first-hand experience in the Middle East.
• Facilitates student engagement with organizations and leaders in the Middle East working to overcome religious, cultural, ethnic, and political prejudice and hostility in the region.
• Inspires respectful dialogue as a tool for building mutual understanding between people of different faiths and backgrounds.
• Fosters a deeper understanding of the countries and cultures of the Middle East through dialogue and personal interaction.

What countries are scheduled for the annual fellowship trips?

The top and foremost priority for the Ibrahim and Queens College Student Leadership Program staff is to ensure our students’ safety. We work tirelessly with our allies on the ground to observe and monitor local and regional developments. Therefore, due to the changing nature of the region, final decisions as to specific countries and cities the program includes cannot be made far in advance. With our director’s vigorous efforts, however, we’re always able to notify accepted students of the countries’ list in a timely manner. Past trips have included: Israel, Jordan, Oman, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
For precautionary measures, change in the trip’s itinerary is always anticipated and responsive arrangements will take place should any developments occur while on the trip.

What kind of places and activities do the fellowship trips include?

This is an intense educational and professional experience. Our students experience many long days full of formal and casual meetings, long periods of sitting, standing, and walking. This can be intellectually and emotionally exhausting at times. Therefore, in addition to our educational programming, we make sure to visit fun places and take breaks. Our students go on hiking trips, swim at local beaches, shop at local malls and souks, go to the top of the Burj Khalifa, enjoy camel rides in desert resorts, and tour historical places such as Petra, Jordan.
To gain some insight on previously visited places and learn about the trip’s impact, please visit our blog to hear from our former fellows.

Who are some of the leaders Ibrahim fellows have met on previous trips?

Fellows interact with a broad spectrum of Middle Eastern cultures and perspectives, particularly in the fields of religious understanding, social entrepreneurialism, and conflict transformation to fortify their role as thought leaders and informed actors on the front lines of hope, empathy, and enlightened self-interest. Regional leaders often include U.S. ambassadors and state departments officials, ministers and military officials from perspective countries. Other potential meeting opportunities include NGO leaders, entrepreneurs, journalists, and activists as well as artists, educators, and religious representatives and leaders.
To learn some names of specific leaders we have met during previous fellowships, please return to our homepage and check previous years’ itineraries.

How could you visit and return to a tumultuous, unpredictable region?

Fellows interact with a broad spectrum of Middle Eastern cultures and perspectives, particularly in the fields of religious understanding, social entrepreneurialism, and conflict transformation to fortify their role as thought leaders and informed actors on the front lines of hope, empathy, and enlightened self-interest. Regional leaders often include U.S. ambassadors and state departments officials, ministers and military officials from perspective countries. Other potential meeting opportunities include NGO leaders, entrepreneurs, journalists, and activists as well as artists, educators, and religious representatives and leaders.
To learn some names of specific leaders we have met during previous fellowships, please return to our homepage and check previous years’ itineraries.

What are the dates for the upcoming fellowship trip?

Our students’ safety is our priority. We work diligently with our allies and advisors in the region when planning our trips. Based on regional developments, we carefully plan our trips per country. In addition, we strive to ensure our students’ comfort away from home. Thus, when planning, we take in consideration religious holidays such as Shavuot and Ramadhan. Previous trips have taken place from mid-late May to mid-late June.

Who can apply?

Undergraduate students with leadership skills and strong academic and extracurricular records. Preference is given to sophomores and juniors. Seniors will only be considered for the program if they can demonstrate clear plans to continue their studies and benefit the academic community upon their return.

Is financial need a consideration?

No

What are the requirements?

To be considered for the fellowship program, you must be a U.S. Citizen, be over 18 years of age, have completed at least one year of undergraduate study by the program travel dates, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Successful applicants have also demonstrated strong leadership potential based on involvement in extracurricular activities and school organizations/clubs, or in internship and work experience.

I have a 3.25 GPA, can I still apply?

Yes. Although the program has previously accepted applicants with a cumulative GPA lower than 3.5, the fellowship program is highly competitive. Students from colleges and university across the country apply annually and only fifteen are selected from a large pool of applicants. Thus, a higher GPA strengthens your application and makes you more competitive.
Candidates who hold high GPAs, but lack extensive records of extracurricular activities, have not been involved on-campus and in their community, and cannot demonstrate the necessary skills, will not be selected.

I will be off campus during my junior year. Can I still apply?

Yes. If you are on a semester study abroad or have taken a full-time internship semester, you are still an active undergraduate student, and you can still apply.

I am a BA/MA student, can I still apply?

Yes. The BA/MA program is an example of accelerated programs that award two degrees. Often, students enroll in such programs as advanced sophomores or early juniors. If you have been awarded a BA degree on completion of the undergraduate requirements, however, but you have not been awarded an MA on completion of the remaining BA/MA requirements, you’re still eligible to apply. In this case, you enter the graduation date of your completion of the BA/MA requirement in the online application. Please note that you would be considered a senior, and you will only be considered for the program if you can demonstrate clear plans to continue your studies and benefit the academic community upon your return.

I am a recent graduate but currently taking classes at an undergraduate school, can I still apply?

No. If you have graduated and been awarded a bachelor degree, you are not eligible to apply and your application will not be considered for the program.

Under what specific circumstances are seniors considered for the fellowship program?

Seniors will only be considered for the program if you can demonstrate clear plans to continue your studies and benefit the academic community upon your return. Strong senior applicants are those who plan to return to their home universities to extend their undergraduate studies, to enroll in a BA/MA program, or continue as a graduate while implementing on campus projects to benefit their academic community upon their return.

I am a senior but plan to extend undergraduate studies for at least another academic year, how should I address the graduation date on the application?

Please enter the appropriate date indicated on your academic records by your college/university. In addition, provide a clarification of your plan and provide evidence in the bio field of the online application. If you have proceeded with the appropriate procedure though your university, the date on your academic records should reflect the change. For further details on such procedure, please contact your university academic records office or refer your academic advisor.

I am 17 years old but will turn 18 within the application year, can I still apply?

No. You must be over 18 years of age by the trip’s initial date to be considered for the fellowship.

I applied in a previous year, can I apply again?

Yes. If you have applied in a previous year but were not selected, we highly encourage you to apply again. Your reconsideration of the program shows your determination and seriousness concerning our fellowship program in the Middle East.

Can siblings apply if we meet the requirements?

Yes. You will be considered and evaluated based on your own credentials and qualifications and not on your relationships with other current or formal applicants.

My school continues until the first week of June, how would this effect my application?

It will not affect your application. Annually, students from colleges and universities across the country apply for our program. Your application will be evaluated based on your credentials and qualifications and not on your school’s academic calendar.

I am not a U.S. citizen, but I am in the process of naturalization, can I still apply?

No. you must be a U.S. citizen by the program’s initial date to be considered. The naturalization process requires different time based on federal and state’s regulations, and each naturalizing application is unique from others and may take less or more time to be processed. For further details on U.S. citizenship and the naturalization process, please visit the U.S. citizenship and immigration services website or contact your local citizenship and immigration office.

I am a U.S. citizen, but I don’t have a U.S. passport, can I still apply?

Yes. You must, however, have a U.S. passport a month prior to the trip’s initial date if you are selected for the fellowship. Your passport is an essential document that allows you to leave and enter the U.S. as well as travel from one country onto another while on the trip.

I am a dual-citizen, and I have a U.S. passport, can I still apply?

It depends on what type of dual-citizenship you hold. Different countries in the Middle East have different regulations regarding dual citizenships. To verify your eligibility to travel to the different countries planned in our upcoming trip, please contact us via e-mail at IQC.LDP@gmail.com.

Can I use my U.S. diplomat passport to travel on this trip?

Yes. Some countries in the Middle East, however, may not allow you to enter if you have certain visa stamps in your passport. To verify your eligibility to travel to the different countries planned in our upcoming trip, please contact us via e-mail at IQC.LDP@gmail.com.

My U.S. Passport has visa stamps from other Middle Eastern countries, can I still apply?

Yes. Not all visa stamps would prevent you from traveling to and in the region. For further details and to verify your eligibility to travel to the different countries planned in our upcoming trip, please contact us via e-mail at IQC.LDP@gmail.com.

My passport will expire soon, should I wait to be accepted before applying for renewal?

You may apply for passport renewal whenever you decide. If you are accepted, you must have a valid U.S. passport a month prior to the Program’s initial date for departure to the Middle East. Further, your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond date of exit of the last country on the list of countries to visit on our trip. Please note that the U.S. Department of State may change travel requirements and regulations per country at any time. We advise all applicants to periodically visit the U.S. Department of State website to learn more about the processing times for passport renewals and for updated travel regulations regarding different countries in the Middle East.

Can my transcripts be an unofficial copy?

Yes. You may submit an official or an unofficial copy of transcripts – a copy downloaded from your university’s website but does not include the official stamps.

Who should I ask for recommendation letters?

Recommendations must be from a professor, advisor, employer, or a community leader who can effectively speak of your ethics and character. Recommendation letters should address and highlight your academic accomplishments, ability to work independently and as a part of a team, leadership skills, involvement in your community, and other qualities that make you stand out as an exemplary applicant.
If you have applied in a previous year, your recommendations must be up to date for the current application cycle.

What should my recommenders include in their letters?

Ibrahim applicants are required to provide two recommendation letters each of which should address one of the following. Although, a recommendation letter may address more than one criterion.
Leadership: This recommendation letter should confirm your impact plan. It should attest to your leadership capacities and potential using example of your involvement in extracurricular activities and in your community.
Commitment to Conflict Transformation: This recommendation letter should confirm your background and passion about the Middle East. It should use examples demonstrating your current influence on campus and in your community and your commitment to a career in conflict transformation.

Can my recommendation letters be submitted directly to the ILDME?

Yes. Recommendation letters may be sent directly to us via e-mail at IQC.LDP@gmail.com. Please make sure that your recommenders indicate your name in the subject line.

I submitted my recommendation letters via the online application, should I also forward them via e-mail as well?

No. If you have successfully uploaded your recommendation letters onto your online application, it is not necessary to send copies via e-mail. If, however, your recommendation letters were not successfully uploaded, we will contact you and request electronic copies via e-mail.

Should I use my school e-mail when filling the online application?

Please use a school or personal e-mail that you periodically access and through which you could reply in timely manner should we need to contact you.

I have a lot to say, can I exceed the essays’ word limits?

No. We recommend that you abide by our guidelines. This is your opportunity to prove your communication skills, to express yourself, and speak of your background, ambitions, and plans precisely and effectively.

What are the primary criteria for selection?

Extensive record of involvement in campus and community activities and service; Commitment to a career in governmental or nongovernmental sectors through which you advocate for cross-cultures understanding and collaboration; Leadership skills and a high potential of becoming a change-maker in the conflict resolution field; Strong academic record with trajectory to continue in a graduate program for relative subjects.
There are a few candidates who are strong in all areas. Annually, we select candidates, on a case by case basis, who may not meet all requirements or have gaps in their application. The most important criterion is the commitment to conflict transformation though social and economic entrepreneurship, and cultural and religious understanding. Candidates with major gaps will not be selected.

Are certain degrees given priority?

Change-agents hail from different backgrounds and contribute to conflict resolution and peace building processes through various ways. Former Ibrahim Fellows include scholars who majored in education, economics, anthropology, and hard sciences among other fields. Those Fellows, however, were able to clearly demonstrate the way in which their degree supported their aspiration and career trajectory in the conflict transformation field.

Does the Ibrahim leadership and dialogue student travel program in the Middle East with Queens College prefer candidates who plan to do policy work over those plan to provide direct services?

No. Former Ibrahim Fellows include student leaders who continued their studies to earn higher degree and work in the policy-making field while some began careers or advocacy work with organization at home or abroad. Candidates choose how they would like to contribute to conflict transformation in the specific communities that interests them.

Does the Ibrahim leadership and dialogue student travel program in the Middle East with Queens College prefer candidates who plan to work on domestic over international issues?

No. Former Ibrahim Fellow include student leaders with interests in federal careers, working as campaign strategists, work in a nonprofit work, or join a national or international NGO or INGO.

How will the applicants be judged and selected?

There are multiple stages for our selection process. During the first stage, we read and evaluate online applications including essays, resumes, academic records, and recommendation letters. Applicants moving to the next stage will be contacted for an initial interview. We may contact you for follow up questions and further details before moving forward in the process. The final stage of the selection will consist of at least one long interview or a series of interviews with the director, Mark Rosenblum. Please note that interviews will be via phone and Skype.
There are multiple components to our online application. We evaluate and compare each component as well as each application against others. In order to submit a strong, competitive application, we recommend that you allow yourself ample time to answer the questions to the best of your ability and to have someone proofread your answers prior to your submission. In addition to evaluating your recommendation letters, we evaluate your GPA, your writing and communication skills, your academic and community achievements, and the organization and demonstration of your projects and plans.

Can I defer my fellowship if selected for the Ibrahim leadership and dialogue student travel program in the Middle East with Queens College?

You may not defer the Ibrahim and Queens College Student Leadership Program, but you may reapply for the following year. Please note that an acceptance letter for a specific year does not guarantee a spot for the following year.

When will I be notified?

Due to the large pool of applications we receive every year, only those who successfully pass the first stage will be selected for an initial interview. Applicants who pass the initial interview will be contacted for follow ups. Only accepted applicants will be notified. Dates of final decisions will be published on our website at the end of the application period.

What happens if I am accepted?

Be prepared for a life-changing experience. You will be challenged to debate and discuss difficult issues, to examine your limits under critical diplomatic settings, and to prove your analytical and leadership skills. You will laugh, cry, feel anger, and reach a deeper empathy and understanding. You will enjoy the beauty of fascinating nature, climb to the top of hills, mountains, and towers. You will swim in the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean. You will be welcomed with luxurious traditional dinners and enjoy the aroma and taste of the traditional Arabic coffee. Local hands will help you wrap your head scarf the proper way. You will ride camels, walk in a desert, and create your own postcard moments. You will pray the taraweeh in the dome of the rock and you will walk astonished and with heavy emotions inside the children’s memorial, Yad Vashem. With laughter and tears, you will make lifelong friends and invaluable connections.
Ibrahim and Queens College Student Leadership Program Fellows will be contacted to submit further information and materials such as professional headshots and short biographies. A strong professional bio is concise and free from errors and repetitions. Your bio should start with your name, your major and minor, indicate your position if you hold a job or an internship, and should be written from a third person perspective. Bios that resonate with others effectively highlight academic and professional achievements and reflect one’s personality. Make sure you end your bio with your contact details or a hyperlink to such contact information as a LinkedIn profile.
Fellows will be required to initial and sign our behavioral policy, and send copies of their passports and personal information such as social security number and birthdates. This information will be used to purchase medical coverage, book domestic and international tickets, and inform the consulates of perspective countries.
During the spring semester and prior to the trip, our director, Mark Rosenblum and our senior fellow, Peter Bartu will send weekly reading packets that consist of book chapters, maps, online links, and media. All readings must be completed as assigned prior to our departure. Fellows are encouraged to have hard or electronic copy of the readings while on the trip for reference. In addition, further readings and writings may be assigned while on the trip.
Fellows will receive pre-departure packets which will explain in details matters related to our travel and behavior while in the Middle East as well as itineraries of each country we plan to visit.

Would the program help me reschedule my finals if I am accepted?

If necessary. Usually, accepted students show their acceptance letters to their professors to rearrange their finals and deadlines. On previous years, students have taken their finals prior to their departure to the Middle East, or after their return, or a combination of both. If you are considering applying for our fellowship program, we recommend that you notify your professors early in your spring semester. We also highly recommend that you take your finals prior to your departure to the Middle East. The trip is time consuming and the fellowship requires a large amount of time while on the trip and beyond. To take full advantage of the fellowship while abroad, it is best to finish finals and papers before leaving.

Will you provide Kosher and Halal food for observant fellows on the trip?

Yes. We go out of our way to address restricted diets. Some fellows follow medical or religious diets; others will be fasting for Ramadhan. The region thrives with variety of vegan, vegetarian, and protein-rich meals, and appropriate arrangements will be made per situation to meet dietary needs of our fellows.

Will the program accommodate religious holidays and Shabbats during the trip?

Yes. While the fellowship program requires long working days and a load of reading and writing assignments, fellows are given free evenings, some weekends, and breaks. During the trip, all Shabbats are observed and Muslim fellows can make the most of the taraweeh prayers.

Will you provide medical insurance and medical assistant during the trip duration?

Yes. The program provides all students and staff with traveling medical coverage for the duration of the Fellowship period.

Have another question? Please contact us via e-mail at IQC.LDP@gmail.com.

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