The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad (YES Abroad) program was established to provide scholarships for secondary school students from the United States to study in select countries for one academic year, living with host families and attending local high schools. YES Abroad started during the 2009-2010 academic year and since its creation has sent students to the following countries:
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, North Macedonia, Oman, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, and Türkiye.
The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program was established by the U.S. Congress in October 2002, in response to the events of September 11, 2001. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of State and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up to one academic year in the United States. Students live with host families, attend high school, engage in activities to learn about American society and values, acquire leadership skills, and help educate Americans about their countries and cultures.
The first class of YES students arrived from Egypt, Gaza, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, Türkiye, West Bank, and Yemen. The program has continued to expand to accept students from the following countries:
Albania, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Egypt, Gaza, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel (Arab Communities), Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Türkiye, West Bank.