In January 2018, the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies (SSSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a framework of collaboration aimed to: 


Develop and conduct customised, accessible and innovative capacity building programmes for election administrators and practitioners;

Increase the accessibility of knowledge tools/capacity building programmes through the updating and upgrading of existing training curriculum including translation and customisation;

Design innovative tools to disseminate and implement capacitation schemes and to further expand electoral knowledge;

Mutually support long-term capacity building programmes and activities, including the Online Master in Electoral Policy and Administration (MEPA)

As a first tangible step, ECES and SSSA already started promoting the activities of MEPA - the only existing online Master Programme providing advanced learning on electoral processes for current and aspiring election professionals. In addition to this, within the context of the EU funded programme ‘EU Support to Democratic Institutions & Development, EU-JDID', ECES and SSSA signed an agreement with the Independent Election Commission of Jordan for selected senior electoral administrators to enroll in the Master course and to customize and translate the Master’s curriculum. The trilateral ECES-SSSA-IEC partnership paved the way for other similar initiatives in countries where ECES is implementing projects, thus facilitating the accessibility and dissemination of MEPA.
MEPA is indeed a key pillar of ECES-SSSA partnership and through ECES’ operational experience and lessons learned from having implemented more than 70 projects in support to democracy and electoral processes in over 35 different countries in the last 8 years, ECES contributes to MEPA through the provision of content, in order to further ensure the relevance of the curriculum to practitioners’ needs. Through its wide network of actors in the electoral domain, ECES also facilitates the contribution of high-level experts and practitioners from around the world to this programme. In addition to this, ECES personnel is part of SSSA faculty. 
MEPA targets mid/upper level professionals and practitioners who want to acquire the specific knowledge and skills to work as election administrators and/or to work as a part of Election Management Bodies. In this context, ECES-SSSA collaboration will allow interested electoral stakeholders to enroll and attend the on line Master or any of the 19 individual modules of MEPA, all of which are based on the electoral cycle approach.
The average duration of MEPA is of one year. Participants may opt to complete the degree within a longer timeframe. However, the maximum duration of the Programme should not exceed two years. Individual modules lead to the attainment of a Certificate of Completion of the specific module, whereas the successful completion of the course will allow participants to obtain a “Master degree in Electoral Policy and Administration”. 
MEPA is composed of an online component (nine months) and an optional residential component at the Sant’Anna School in Pisa, Italy (up to three weeks).
Presently, the course available in English, but translations are underway to offer the Master in other languages, including in Arabic, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
MEPA is principally an open-enrollment course, open to all practitioners and professionals in related fields. As part of the endeavor to enhance the capacity of election administration to promote sustainable democratic practices and support the accessibility of electoral knowledge and best practices, and within the context of projects implemented by ECES-SSSA, preferential conditions may be offered. In order to favour more inclusive participation, reduced tuition fees would also be inversely related to the number of participants.