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A Growing YES Family

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On the weekend of July 20th, Lebanon’s YES Alumni Network hosted one of their most anticipated events of the year…the YES alumni annual retreat!

Held in Chtaura, 105 YES alumni spent a busy weekend filled with networking activities, sports, and skills development training workshops with special guests from the U.S. Embassy. YES alumni spanning 14 cohort years, from 2005-2019, came together at the retreat to bond over their exchange year experiences.

During the retreat, YES alumni board members facilitated two different team-building activities, charades and American football. Both of these activities reminded alumni of their American experiences while on program. In addition to the team-building activities, YES alumna Nataly Nasr Eldeen (YES 2006 - 2007) facilitated a morning Zumba session.

Since the YES alumni network focuses on giving back to the local community, the retreat allowed the alumni from different regions to hold a brainstorming session to plan upcoming community service projects in their local communities. 

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In addition to team-building games, YES alumni benefitted from three skills development training workshops on burnout (study-work/life balance), self-directed career search guidance, and advanced interview skills.

For the evening’s entertainment, YES alumnus Nazih Raychouni (YES 2014 - 2015) organized a talent show showcasing the diverse talents of 11 YES alumni, which included singing, dancing, reciting poetry, and a magic show.

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One of the highlights of this year’s retreat was the YES Talks panels. Two panels, one of older cohort years and one of new cohort years, led a discussion on the importance of the YES experience and its impact on the students’ lives. The older alumni gave advice to the younger alumni on how to become successful leaders in their communities and careers.

As the YES alumni family in Lebanon keeps growing, bonds are growing stronger and the support platform is becoming wider. Year after year, YES alumni excitedly await this annual gathering for the chance to share experiences, achievements, and advice from people who went through the YES journey.

Nataly Naser AL Deen (YES 2006 - 2007, Lebanon, hosted by CCI in Hilo, HI)

Nazih Raychouni (YES 2014 – 2015, hosted by AFS in Wichita, KS)


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November is the month of International Education Week! 

What have the people in your host community learned about your country? What have you learned about the U.S. that you didn’t know before?

Check out this month's story prompt at bit.ly/YESstorywriting and submit YOUR for International Education Week!

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