Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study

[This information is taken from the official YES website]

YES & YES Abroad

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program was established in October, 2002. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for high school students (15-17 years) from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up to one academic year in the U.S. Students live with host families, attend high school, engage in activities to learn about American society and values, acquire leadership skills, and help educate Americans about their countries and cultures. In 2007, YES Abroad was established to provide a similar experience for U.S. students (15-18 years) in selected YES countries.

The Kennedy-Lugar YES Program evolved out of a generalized recognition that public diplomacy efforts had been neglected in many countries around the world for many years and that the effects of this came into stark focus in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, along with the U.S. exchange community, recognized the importance of youth exchange as a key component of renewed commitment to building bridges between citizens of the U.S. and countries around the world, particularly those with significant Muslim populations.

This resulted in appropriations committed by Congress in 2002, followed by a call for grant proposals later that same year. Like-minded high school exchange organizations in the U.S. worked together to provide a large number of scholarships within a compact time frame for the first year of the program, the 2003-04 academic year. The first class of YES students arrived from Egypt, Gaza, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, West Bank, and Yemen. The program has continued to expand to accept students from the following countries for the 2011-12 academic year:

Afghanistan, Albania, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Egypt, Gaza, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel (Arab Communities), Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, West Bank, and Yemen.

YES Abroad is currently sending students to the following countries:

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mali (semester only), Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Thailand, and Turkey.

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