Aspect Foundation is proud to be a placement organization for two highly-competitive, merit-based scholarship programs overseen by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs: the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program and the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program.
As a host for one of these special young ambassadors, your family will play a very real role in our country’s ongoing people-to-people public diplomacy efforts!
The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program was established in 1992 to provide an opportunity for high school students from the countries of the former Soviet Union to experience life in a democratic society in order to promote democratic values in Eurasia.
The program has recently expanded to include other countries, and now includes students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Since the program’s inception, more than 23,000 students have spent one academic year attending schools and living with host families throughout the United States, and returned to their home countries with a new desire to help others.
The Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program was established in 2003 by the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in response to the tragedies of September 11, 2001. The YES Program provides an opportunity for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to experience life in the United States and build bridges of understanding and respect. Since the program’s inception, more than 7,000 students have participated.
Countries participating in the YES program include: Albania, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Egypt, Gaza, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel (Arab Communities), Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, West Bank, Yemen.
Throughout an entire academic year, the students experience enrichment activities of community service, a youth leadership training, civic education, diversity training, and other activities designed to give them a well-rounded view of the US culture and values and to build leadership skills. Upon their return, students apply their leadership skills at home. Alumni groups have spearheaded many projects abroad, including clothing drives, community service activities, mentoring younger children, English teaching, immunization drives, and much more.