YES Programs



Embodying Global Student Leadership

Dareen standing in front of a whiteboard

Dareen Alhajarf embodies global student leadership. In September 2021, she joined the Open Society University Network (OSUN). OSUN is a network that integrates civic engagement and global citizenship into higher education through facilitating connections between academic institutions across the globe. As an OSUN Global Engagement Fellow, Dareen hosts online workshops to train student leaders from different countries on starting initiatives and projects, working with diverse groups of people, writing project reports, fundraising, and campaigning.  

Dareen and two other young people standing at a table at a fair

In January, Dareen was invited to the OSUN Student Fellow Retreat in Bogota, Colombia, where she connected and networked with more than 40 students from 20 institutions around the world about global citizenship and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She also developed her skills in public speaking and debating, and connected with student fellows in the network.  

Alongside her work with OSUN, Dareen leads the Al-Quds Bard Debate Union. The Al-Quds Bard Debate Union is a student-led initiative that works to empower Palestinian students by improving their argumentation, debating, and public speaking skills.  

Dareen will also be attending the 2023 Get Engaged Conference in Budapest, Hungary. The conference helps students improve and refine their student-led initiatives. Dareen will be collaborating with students from all over the world to develop community leadership skills and solutions to local and global challenges. She will also present her ideas to receive feedback from student leaders and experienced facilitators. She is excited to advance her leadership of the Al-Quds Bard Debate Union through this opportunity.  

Dareen and a large group of young people

Dareen said, “Following my YES experience, I always carry these ideals that my year abroad taught me: global citizenship, giving back to my community, and active leadership. Without the YES program, I wouldn’t have been able to integrate myself so quickly into a rigorous academic environment with a focus on civic engagement. I'm thankful for the program and Amideast’s staff for working so diligently with students like us to ensure that we succeed and make a place for ourselves even in the face of injustice and the obstacles we face.” 

Dareen Alhajaraf (YES 2018-2019, West Bank, placed by AFS-USA in Independence, MO)