YES Programs



2018 Civic Education Workshop Social Media Specialists

2018 Social Media Specialists

From February 24 - March 2, 2018, 100 YES students will participate in the Civic Education Workshop in Washington, DC. Throughout the week, students will visit the U.S. Department of State and take part in seminars on the U.S. federal and state government systems, and they will also hear from representatives of civic organizations and the media. They will also have the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill and meet with their host states’ Senators and House Representatives, as well as their staffs.

Six out of the 100 participants have been selected as Social Media Specialists and will share their experiences and the impact of the workshop live and in real time on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the action for minute-by-minute updates and an insider’s take on Twitter via @yesprogramnews and #CivEdWeek. Also, make sure you like the workshop’s Facebook page to see more Social Media Specialists’ posts throughout the week:


Yara Hamad (Kuwait / hosted by World Link in Illinois)

Yara Hamad Bio Pic

Yara hopes, “to gain a wider understanding of the American government by participating in the Civic Education Workshop.” One of her biggest achievements this year has been encouraging her peers to learn a second language. Thanks to Yara, her classmates now “believe that learning a new language can open one's eyes to new cultures and bring more appreciation for diversity.” In the future, Yara would like to become a diplomat in order to, “strengthen International ties and promote the importance of diversity in our world.” 

Eugene Wangila (Kenya / hosted by CIEE in Indiana)

Eugene Bio Pic

Eugene’s goal for the Civic Education Workshop is to “to learn about leadership techniques that will enable me to make a difference in my home country.” During his year, Eugene has actively been involved in community service at his school and community. From serving food and cleaning the community center to assisting at the school library, he is racking up many community service hours! In the future, Eugene would like to enhance gender equality and the rights of women, as well as promote peace.

Sufi Salma (Indonesia / hosted by PAX in Utah)

Sufi Bio Pic

During Civic Education Week, Sufi hopes to gain, “a better understanding about how government works so I can be a better citizen who can actively contribute in government [and] build a better nation.” Sufi’s year in Utah has helped her become “more understanding, tolerant, and respectful.” She also regularly volunteers at the Utah Islamic Center, teaching children the Arabic alphabet. In the future, Sufi wants to be an ambassador for Indonesia. She hopes she will be able to “create peace and fight what is wrong to create a better world.”

Talha Al Islam (Bangladesh / hosted by AFS in Florida)

Talha Al Islam Bio Pic 2

Talha’s goal for Civic Education Week is to learn about leadership qualities, creating projects, and ways to handle unexpected challenges during project implementation. His major achievement this year was being selected by his school to visit University of Florida's Aerospace and Engineering lab to assist in designing a special keyboard for persons with disabilities who have limited motor control. Following his YES year, Talha would like to “make a revolutionary change” in the technological and social sectors of his country by enhancing access to science and technology in underprivileged and remote areas. 

Noor Ebrahim Ali (Bahrain / hosted by Ayusa in Washington)

Noor Bio Pic

Noor hopes to gain a better understanding of the U.S. government and federal system during the Civic Education Workshop. Since arriving in the U.S., Noor has been actively involved in her host school and community – from singing in the choir and performing in the Little Mermaid musical to volunteering at local churches!  Noor’s goal for the future is to go to medical school and become a doctor.

Amir Balimbingan (Philippines / hosted by PAX in Ohio)

Amir Balimbingam Bio Pic

During the Civic Education Workshop, Amir hopes to learn more about the American government and its leaders so that he "can do something significant for [his] country." Since arriving in the U.S., Amir has jumped head first into many clubs and groups at his host school, including his school's musical. His biggest accomplishment so far was representing his country and culture throughout his community, including in two newspaper articles. Upon his return home, Amir would like to share the things he has learned in the U.S. in order "to create something helpful for my community." 


Tell us about your favorite holiday experiences in December! 

What new American holidays have you learned about and celebrated with your host family? 

Check out this month's story prompt at and submit your story!

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