The public diplomacy initiatives include four meaningful and rewarding programs that bring international participants to the U.S. and/or send American students abroad. Programs include Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES), National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), and the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX). All four are programs of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Public diplomacy initiatives share a common mission with AFS of building a more just and peaceful world through international exchange.

YES (2)

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program was initiated by the Department of State in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. It aims to build bridges of understanding between Americans and people in countries with either significant Muslim populations or strategic importance. Scholarships are also available for U.S. high school students to go abroad through the YES Abroad program.

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“I have managed to make friends not only from the United States but also from other countries around the world through YES. I am so happy to have achieved this as it will lead to me becoming a better and more understanding person who has regards for others and their respective cultures and experiences.”

-Nzumbululo M.

NSLI (3)

NSLI for Youth

The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program was launched in 2006 to promote critical language learning among American youth. The NSLI-Y program encourages a lifetime of language study and cultural understanding by providing over 550 summer and academic year merit-based scholarships. Participants receive intensive language instruction, live with a host family for all or part of the program, and participate in community service and a variety of cultural activities.

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CBYX (1)

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange

Initiated in 1983, the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program is jointly funded and managed by the U.S. and German governments. CBYX provides 350 scholarships for U.S. high school students, high school graduates in vocational fields, and young professionals for an academic year home-stay program. 360 CBYX scholarships are available for German students and young professionals to travel to the U.S. for an academic year program.

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Truly one of the most memorable and life changing things I have had the opportunity to experience. Throughout my exchange year I matured more than I realized and genuinely felt as though I was more aware of the world and my presence in it. Wouldn’t be the person I am today without it and highly recommend AFS (CBYX) to any students considering a year abroad.”

– Erica K.

FLEX (1)

Future Leaders Exchange

Established in 1992, the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program strives to improve mutual understanding and develop and strengthen long-term relationships between citizens of the United States and citizens of the countries of Eastern Europe and Eurasia. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and supports the exchange of high school students from 21 Eastern European and Eurasian countries to the U.S. for a year long, academic home stay experience.

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USA Flag and U.S. Department of State Seal

CBYX, NSLI-Y, YES Abroad and FLEX are programs of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs