What is the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program?
High school students from countries with significant Muslim populations live and study for an academic year in the United States through the U.S. Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program. YES students serve as “youth ambassadors” of their home country, promoting mutual understanding by forming lasting relationships with their host families and communities. Participants 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 officially launched in Kenya in 2008 in hopes to expand communication between the people of the United States and Kenya in order to promote mutual understanding and respect. Since then, over 250 Kenyan students have completed the YES program and now actively involved in community development as YES alumni.
The YES program is administered in partnership with the U.S. Department of State by a consortium of non-profit organizations led by American Councils for International Education. In Kenya, AFS Kenya – Organization For Intercultural Education manages the YES program in partnership with the local U.S. Embassy, Public Affairs Office.