Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program

Country: Global
Duration: September 2013 to July 2017
Funder: U.S. Department of State

Program Description

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program is designed to foster a global community of shared interests and values developed through better mutual understanding via first-hand participation of high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations in academic year or semester exchanges to the United States. The program seeks to select students with leadership potential, to develop their leadership skills while in the U.S., and to support them in alumni activities after they return home.

Annually, World Learning places approximately 8-10 of the 1,000 high school students, who have the opportunity to live in the United States with American host families and attend high school during the academic year. 

YES high school students are between the ages of 15 and 18.5 and are from the following countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Egypt, Gaza, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel (Arab communities), Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Suriname, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen. 

Program Cycle

YES students study and live with American host families from August through June of an academic year.  

Program Goals, as defined by the Department of State

  • Promote better understanding by youth from selected countries about local society, people, institutions, values and culture;
  • Foster lasting personal ties;
  • Engage the exchange participants in activities that advance mutual understanding, respect for diversity, leadership skills, and understanding of civil society during their exchange experience;
  • Enhance Americans’ understanding of other countries and cultures;
  • Increase the capacity of organizations in participating countries to engage youth in activities that enhance mutual understanding, respect for diversity, leadership skills, and understanding of civil society through alumni activities.

America has totally changed my perspective and my way of looking at things. Every day, I experience new things, which leaves a great impact on my personality and my attitude. …my dream is, when I go back to my hometown…I will motivate youth to go for wonderful opportunities like YES, and change their lives.

YES participant from Pakistan

Program Links

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