Jerusalem – Eleven bright and promising Palestinian students from Gaza arrived yesterday in the United States to start a year of study at American high schools under the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES). Three more Gaza students will also arrive in the coming days. The YES program aims to promote cross-cultural understanding to break down cultural barriers, misperceptions, and stereotypes between Palestinians and Americans. These students are among the approximately 300 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza that the United States government supports every year on professional and student exchange programs.
These exchanges form an important part of the Trump administration’s commitments to expanding the economic and educational opportunities for Palestinians as a necessary step toward peace. President Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, was personally involved to ensure that the students were able to depart on time to participate in and benefit from the program.
The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program for high school students was established by Congress in October, 2002. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of State to provide scholarships for high school students from 39 countries in the Middle East, Africa, South/Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and South America to spend up to one academic year in the United States. Students live with host families, attend U.S. high schools, and participate in special enrichment activities that include community service, youth leadership training, a civics education program, and acquire leadership skills. Likewise, these students serve as cultural ambassadors for their home countries, representing their own rich heritage in their American host communities.
For more information please contact the U.S. Consulate General’s Press Office at 02-622-6908 or Samar Dissi 0546620257