The Middle East Leadership Initiative (MELI) -- a collaborative venture between the Aspen Institute and a consortium of leading regional sponsors -- seeks to develop a new generation of community-spirited leaders in the Middle East and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Using the time-tested Institute method of text-based dialogue and building upon the Institute’s commitment to values-based, action-oriented leadership, the program will provide the tools and perspectives necessary for effective, enlightened leadership in business, government and the nonprofit sector – and in society at-large.  The Middle East Leadership Initiative is made possible by the generous support of the Saudi Telecom Company, Booz & Co and the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation.

MELI Fellows join more than 2000 other Fellows from 48 countries to become members of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN).  The AGLN is comprised of accomplished leaders who have participated in one of the Henry Fellowship modeled leadership initiatives designed to help Fellows move from personal "success to significance."


Each class of is comprised of 20-24 Fellows who are between the ages of 30 and 45 when selected and hail from across the Middle East (including Gulf Cooperation Council countries). Fellows, nominated by recognized local business, government and community leaders, are men and
women who:

  • have already achieved significant success in their fields of endeavor;
  • have demonstrated their potential for future leadership at the very highest levels;
  • come from diverse backgrounds in terms of occupation, industry, political leaning, ethnicity, religion and gender.

The 18-month curriculum, which has been designed specifically for the Middle East Leadership Initiative, comprises four seminars of 5-6 days each and a required leadership project of the Fellow's own design and choosing.  Three of the seminars will be held in the region, with the third seminar in the series of four – Leading in an Era of Globalization­ – being held in locations in the US, Central America, Africa, the Middle East and India.  During this third seminar, Fellows will have the opportunity to mix with other Fellows from across the Aspen Global Leadership Network.  

Nominate a Candidate for the Middle East Leadership Initiative.