Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program

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The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program was established by Congress in October 2002 in response to the events of September 11, 2001. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of State and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up to one academic year in the United States. 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.

iEARN is currently responsible for the recruitment of students from Arab-Israel, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Liberia, Mali, Pakistan Sierra Leone, and Suriname. iEARN further enhances the program through ongoing online project partnerships among participating schools.

Once student return to their home countries after completing their exchange they join the growing YES Alumni network and can participate in YES alumni activities. The goals of the YES Alumni program are to expand on and practice what YES students have learned about volunteerism, community service and citizen responsibility during their exchange year.

How To Get Involved

Each year iEARN brings almost 200 students to the U.S. from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Israel (Arab Communities), Liberia, Mali, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Suriname.

Program Impact

HOST: Do you wonder how you can improve your family, community or the world? One way is by sharing your home and heart with a Kennedy-Lugar YES student. What begins as an exchange of customs and culture extends throughout a high school and community to touch thousands of lives. If you are a family living in the U.S. or a high school and would be interested in hosting a YES student, please fill out an interest form.