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US Consul General Michael Dodman welcomed 45 students from Sindh province who returned after one year study in the United States through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme.

The YES programme, funded by the US Department of State, provides scholarships for secondary school students aging 15-17 from over 40 countries to study at American high schools and live with the American host families for up to one academic year. At the daylong event, students shared their experiences from the programme and received certificates from the consul general.

In his remarks, the consul general highlighted the importance of strengthening people-to-people ties through academic and cultural exchange. “I am excited to welcome back these outstanding students who have spent a year studying at US high schools and living with the American families as part of the YES programme,” he said. “YES students are fantastic ambassadors for Pakistan to the many Americans whose lives they touch.”

The YES programme, which celebrated its 10th anniversary, last December, encourages the exchange of ideas, values, and experiences among young people and leads to greater cultural awareness and appreciation. In addition to a full programme of study at a US high school, the YES students participate in extracurricular programmes and enrichment activities such as community service projects and leadership training. The YES students are cultural ambassadors to their American host communities, whose contact with YES students provides them with an opportunity to learn about the rich and vibrant cultures of students’ home countries.

Since 2003, the YES programme has provided scholarships to more than 700 Pakistani high school students. For the year 2012-2013, 107 Pakistani students participated in the programme nationwide, which is implemented by the Society for International Education (SIE). Applications are currently being accepted for the 2014-2015 programme through July 30, 2013.