Application Closed

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program

If you would like to spend a year of high school in the United States, YES may be the program for you!
YES students in the US


The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program provides scholarships for high school students to study for one academic year in the United States. YES students live with a host family, attend an American high school, acquire leadership skills, and engage in activities to learn about U.S. society and values; they also help educate Americans about their home country and culture. The program supports students with disabilities and encourages their participation.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the YES program was established by the U.S. Congress in 2003 to improve understanding between countries with significant Muslim populations and the United States. YES students serve as “youth ambassadors” of their home country, forming a cultural bridge of understanding by forming lasting relationships with their host families and communities.

After their year in the United States, YES alumni can look forward to participating in the active Palestinian YES alumni network.


To be eligible to participate in the YES, students must:

  • Be enrolled in 9th or 10th grade at a secondary school at the time of application
  • Be born between February 15, 2004 and August 15, 2007
  • Meet a minimum English proficiency requirement, which will be measured by formal testing
  • Have a cumulative grade average of B (80%) without any failing grades and a grade of B+ (85%) or better in English for the past three years
  • Demonstrate flexibility and a commitment to promoting cross-cultural understanding
  • Not be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or have been born in the United States
  • Be a citizen of the West Bank, Gaza, or East Jerusalem

Students will be placed in carefully chosen American host families by experienced youth exchange organizations that will also monitor and advise the students throughout their stay in the United States. Major expenses such as airfare, room and board, pocket money and most other costs will be paid for by the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES).


(We no longer accept applicatitions for YES 2022 Cycle. Application closed on November 7, 2021. The application for 2023 cycle should open in September/October 2022)

  • Complete the pre-application form. Click HERE to download the pre-application form.
  • Attach your final school transcripts for the previous two years: academic years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021. You can submit them in Arabic or in English. 
  • Attach a copy of your birth certificate

Incomplete pre-applications will not be considered.

Applicants must submit their completed pre-application along with the supporting documents by hand to any Amideast offices in the West Bank, Jerusalem, or Gaza no later than November 7, 2021.YES Application and Selection Process

The YES application process in the West Bank and Gaza goes through several phases:

  • Pre-Application: Applicants fill out and submit a preliminary application form;
  • English Placement Tests: Eligible applicants are invited in November to take English language proficiency exams, and to write proctored essays;
  • Full Application: Selected applicants who pass the English tests are invited to complete the full YES application;
  • In-person interview: Candidates who submit the full application are invited for individual and group interviews.


The program can support students with disabilities and encourages their participation. The Department of State and the YES program work with Mobility International (MIUSA) to provide students with disabilities leadership-building workshops, appropriate information, and support as needed to enhance their year in America. Students with disabilities must also meet the above eligibility requirements.


For questions, contact us at  or call us at: 

  • Ramallah: 02-240-8023 ext. 300 or 111
  • Gaza: 08-282-4635 ext. 206
  • Hebron: 02-221-3301/2/3
  • Jerusalem: 02-582-9297
  • Nablus: 09-238-4533



US FlagState Department logo
YES is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by Amideast.