AYUSA Global Youth Exchange Awarded Mexico Youth Leadership Program Grant

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President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderón issued a joint statement last week describing a new exchange program for high school students. The program will be run by AYUSA Global Youth Exchange.

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AYUSA is excited to support the efforts of the Department of State's U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to develop this important new public diplomacy initiative

In a joint statement released last week, President Barack Obama and President Felipe Calderón announced a new exchange program for high school students designed to promote mutual understanding between the two countries. AYUSA Global Youth Exchange, a San Francisco nonprofit organization promoting global learning and leadership through foreign exchange programs, has been awarded the grant to facilitate this program, called Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action).

According to the joint statement:

"The Presidents also took note of the strong educational ties and close academic collaboration that the people of the United States and Mexico have enjoyed for many years. They looked forward to expanding these programs by initiating a new exchange program for high school students to promote mutual understanding. The Presidents committed their governments to build upon this pilot program, co-financed with the private sector, to help bring together the next generation of leaders from the United States and Mexico."

The grant is jointly funded by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, the Mexican Ministry of Education, and private sector companies in Mexico. The program has been created to help address the pervasive social issues facing Mexico by developing leaders who come from non-elite populations within the country.

“AYUSA is excited to support the efforts of the Department of State’s U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to develop this important new public diplomacy initiative,” said Geoff Watson, president of AYUSA. “The program objectives are in complete alignment with AYUSA’s commitment to promoting life-changing cultural exchange and leadership experiences for young people around the world.”

The pilot program will launch this summer when AYUSA welcomes 50 high school students from Mexico, many from areas impacted by drugs and violence, to the U.S. on a five-week youth leadership program. The program will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, DC.

“By bringing together student leaders from Mexico and the US, and fostering open communication, we are building a foundation for greater understanding and cultural awareness between our two countries,” said Sherry Carpenter, executive director of AYUSA.

The program will start with a week of language and culture training in the San Francisco Bay Area, held at the University of California at Berkeley. During the next three weeks, students will participate in a leadership program including leadership curriculum, interaction with American and international high school youth, community service projects, and excursions to cultural sites. The final week will take place in Washington, DC, where students will focus on civic engagement through a variety of activities such as meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The culmination of the program will be a presentation of program learnings to a Department of State panel.

AYUSA will be leading a group of exceptional partners that will enrich the program experience by providing content, expertise, and resources related to youth leadership, civic engagement, anti-violence, community service, and specific issues related to Latin American populations. Committed partners include: University of California at Berkeley, Center for Cities and Schools; World Savvy; Amigos de las Americas; and Start Dialogue.

AYUSA Global Youth Exchange (http://www.ayusa.org) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 to promote global learning and leadership through foreign exchange, study abroad and leadership programs for high school students from the US and around the world. In addition, AYUSA administers multiple high profile grant programs funded by the U.S. Department of State. AYUSA is part of the Intrax Cultural Exchange family of organizations devoted to cultural exchange and international education, with operations in over 80 countries worldwide.

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