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:
- Be enrolled in 9th or 10th grade at a secondary school at the time of application;
- Must be born between February 1, 2002 and August 1, 2005;
- Meet a minimum English proficiency requirement, which will be measured by a test;
- Have a cumulative grade of B (80%) in all academic subjects and a cumulative grade of B+ (85%) or better in English for the past three years;
- Should demonstrate flexibility and a commitment to promoting cross-cultural understanding;
- Must not be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or have been born in the United States;
- Be a resident 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 US. 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).
HOW TO APPLY
The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) application for 2021 will open in September or October 2020.
- Official final transcripts for the past two years
- Copy of birth certificate
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
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.