Deliver Your News to the World

Groundbreaking High School Exchange Celebrates 2nd Successful Year; Students’ Stories Forge Inspiring Paths in Diplomacy


NEW YORK, June 2 -- Is it possible to look to teens for lessons in diplomacy? As headlines focus on religious intolerance - the answer is “YES” according to the thousands of students, families, schools and communities deeply touched by this year’s Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program, the foreign exchange program with a groundbreaking twist.

YES brings teens to the US from primarily Muslim majority countries; 70 percent of this year’s students are Muslim. They are awarded scholarships to come experience being a member of an American family and American society. As the end of their school year here rapidly approaches, now is a powerful and emotional time to interview these articulate young diplomats, friends and families about their experiences, transformation, and saying goodbye. Students like:

-- Kartika, from Indonesia, an all-American cheerleader in Indiana and a strong support to her host mom who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor;

-- Fadiliah, who opened minds on an Indiana school bus when she overheard students whispering about her head scarf, as did Shanna in Washington when students questioned Muslim prayer;

-- Arabic-speaking YES students use language skills to tutor Somalian and Hmong refugees in Wisconsin; while others teamed with American friends to raise money for tsunami victims back home;

-- Egyptian students address issues of terrorism; and in Alaska, an Egyptian student’s eyes were opened by an Israeli teacher he connected with.

These future leaders receive impressive diplomatic support, meeting with dignitaries from Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice to US Ambassador to Egypt David Welch. The US State Department sponsors YES and distributes congressional funding to a consortium of student exchange groups.

Forging the way is AFS Intercultural Programs/USA. AFS, a worldwide nonprofit leading international student exchange for over 57 years, oversees 160 YES students from seven countries: Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and India. They live with host families throughout the US, and an astounding 6000 students have applied to be a part of next year’s program.

The students leave at the end of June, but their powerful message will remain: everyone can participate in public diplomacy -- and a perfect place to begin -- is at home.



For interviews (students, families, educators, spokespeople) and possible upcoming events in your area, contact: Susan Barnett, 212-989-2956 or


This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.

News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.