YES Programs



YES Iftar: A Diverse Cultural Aroma

YES alumni performing poetry

By Salah Mazloum (YES 2018-2019, Lebanon, placed by IRIS in Des Moines, IA)

Traditional cuisine, distinguished guests, and Zajal (Lebanese folk poetry) were the highlights of this year’s annual YES iftar, which was held on March 28. This event brought together 77 YES alumni from across Lebanon for an evening of festivities and cultural exchange.

Ambassador Johnson speaking into a microphone

Representatives from the U.S. Embassy attended the event, reaffirming the partnership between Lebanon and the United States. Notably, U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson graced the dinner with her presence and highlighted the month of Ramadan and the achievements of the YES family in her remarks. In addition, Deputy Assistant Secretary Ethan Goldrich, Cultural Affairs Officer Carlo Aragon, Exchange Programs Coordinator Leen Al Yaman, and Alumni and Exchanges Coordinator Elise Al Khoury attended from the U.S. Embassy.

The alumni were thrilled to connect with each other. Mostapha El Hajj ‘21 hosted an engaging trivia activity, which sparked lively debate and laughter. The highlight of the iftar was the performance of Zajal, a traditional form of oral strophic poetry, by Abdallah Ibrahim ‘21 and Majd Saad ‘22. Their performance showcased Lebanon’s rich cultural heritage.

The YES alumni were delighted to celebrate Lebanon’s culture and diversity, as well as their connections to the United States and their commitment to cultural exchange. In closing, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who contributed to the success of this event.

Moustapha Al Hajj (YES 2020-2021, Lebanon, placed virtually by Greenheart)

Abdallah Ibrahim (YES 2020-2021, Lebanon, placed virtually by World Link)

Majd Saad (YES 2021-2022, Lebanon, placed by AYA/AIFS in Seattle, WA)

Large group of alumni in front of KL YES banners