YES Programs



YES Brings Out Our Best

Tasneem wearing a kimono with a group of other women wearing kimonos

by Tasneem Mohamed (YES 2015-2016, Egypt, placed by CIEE in Columbus, IN)

Eight years ago, I embarked on a life-changing experience, and even today I am constantly seeing its effect on my life. Back in 2015-2016, I was hosted as an exchange student in Columbus, IN. Before my exchange year, I was the shyest person ever, and it was hard for me sometimes to express myself. But I have always had BIG dreams for myself! Thanks to my YES experience, I was able to express my thoughts and ideas to the extent that I became a first-place award winner in presentation skills. I want to share my success story with my fellow YES alumni and officials so that they keep the YES program going because it is changing lives! 

Tasneem stands with a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tasneem with a representative of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Fast forward eight years later: in February, I found myself in Japan after being selected among eight other talented Egyptians to participate in the last phase of a program on Entrepreneurship for Public Health and COVID-19 recovery in Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon organized by the UN's Institute for Training and Research. I got selected for my project that aims to serve young Egyptian biotechnology professionals and to further develop the Egyptian economy by enhancing and advocating for the importance of the biotechnology sector. My team and I are aiming to become the next multinational company. 

Tasneem with two women from Hiroshima prefecture
Tasneem with Hiroshima prefecture office representative and the Dir. of the Division of Prosperity and Hiroshima office Director, UNITAR

During my visit to Japan, I met with several key-ranking officials from Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Hiroshima Prefecture, the Iraqi ambassador in Tokyo, and the Vice Governor of Hiroshima city. This experience wouldn't have been the same without my previous experience with the YES program. Being a YES student gives you exposure to diverse cultures as it allows you to meet people of many different nationalities. Meeting with new people and getting along well with people from diverse backgrounds becomes second nature!

It doesn't stop there! After returning home to Egypt, on March 8th, my university invited me to give the opening speech for an International Women’s Day event hosted in collaboration with the Egyptian National Council for Women. It was such an honor for me to be recognized as a role model for young women.

Being the shy person I was, if someone had told me I would do all these things and become the person I am today, I would have never believed them. All thanks go to the YES program, because it brings the BEST out of our younger selves, even the skills we don’t know we have!  If I had a chance to repeat my exchange year, I would choose to do it all over again.