YES Programs



Celebrating Global Families in Washington DC!

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From March 18-21, 2010, the US Department of State’s, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs conference, took place in the DC Metro Area. More than 240 exchange students, host families, and volunteers came together to share their stories and celebrate the global families that are created by intercultural exchange.

The workshop brought together AFS volunteers and staff from across the country; staff and volunteers from the four US placement organizations collaborating to host YES participants (ACES; AIFS Foundation’s AYA program; CIEE and PAX); representatives of American Councils for International Education (who we collaborate with on the NSLI-Y program); and a number of AFS partners from around the world including Germany, Malaysia, Turkey, Ghana, Thailand, Egypt, Indonesia, South Africa, India, the Philippines, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Mozambique; as well as ten host families representing each of the placement organizations. All together, these participants represented 34 states and 14 countries.
An additional element was the fourth Alumni Training of Trainers workshop for 22 YES alumni and American Congress Bundestag and NSLI-Y program alumni.
Each year, visits to Capitol Hill by the workshop participants create an opportunity to raise awareness on the Hill of the ECA-sponsored programs and to request support for continued funding. More than fifty visits were made to the offices of Senators and Representatives.
Other highlights of the workshop included addresses by AFS-USA President Jorge Castro; Sandra Testani, CEO of PAX; Ambassador Eaton, Board Member, AFS-USA; Leonard Korycki, Office Director for Citizen Exchanges at the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau of the US Department of State; an interview with John Hishmeh, Executive Director of CSIET; a wonderful evening of cultural sharing by our partners in the form of an International Bazaar, bringing sights, sounds, smells and tastes of each country to life for the workshop participants; and a cultural evening emceed by Dato’Dale Lokman, board member of AFS Malaysia, starring 22 program alumni, which unveiled the winner of the host family video contest and featured an address by Betsy Davis, Division Chief for Youth Programs at the US Department of State.