ISLAMABAD: U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland spoke with 108 Pakistani students who will depart in August for one year of study in the United States through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program.
The YES program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, provides scholarships for secondary school students ages 15-17 from over 40 countries to study at American high schools and live with American host families for up to one academic year. During the week-long orientation, students learned what to expect in the United States and heard from alumni who participated in last year’s program.
In his remarks, Ambassador Hoagland highlighted the importance of strengthening people-to-people ties through academic and cultural exchange. “To see so many impressive Pakistani young people – each of you a talented representative of this nation’s bright future – is inspiring. I am proud that the United States will have a role in advancing your education and helping your nation’s prospects,” he said. “It is a two-way benefit. While you are learning about the United States, Americans will be learning from all of you, and our country and our young people will be the richer for it.”
The YES program, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in December 2012, encourages the exchange of ideas, values, and experiences among young people and leads to greater cultural awareness and appreciation. In addition to a full program of study at a U.S. high school, YES students participate in extracurricular programs and enrichment activities such as community service projects and leadership training. YES students are cultural ambassadors to their American host communities, whose contact with YES students provides them with an opportunity to learn about the rich and vibrant cultures of students’ home countries.
Since 2003, the YES program has provided scholarships to more than 700 Pakistani high school students. This year’s participants come from over 30 cities in Pakistan, and more than half of the participants are girls. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2014-2015 program through July 30, 2013.