Office of Citizen Exchanges

Youth Programs

NIS Programs Germany
Young Political Leaders More Information

The NIS Secondary School Initiative
An educational exchange program between the United States and the New Independent States

The NIS Secondary School Initiative was conceived out of the conviction that only through the young people of the New Independent States (the NIS), formerly part of the Soviet Union could true democracy be realized. The program is based on a belief that, in the long term, the people of the former Soviet Union need a vision more than they need shipments of food or supplies - a vision of what their new societies can and should look like. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to bring thousands of young people from the NIS to the US, where they will learn about the responsibilities and opportunities that come with living in a democracy with a free-market economy. Independence, initiative, and self-confidence are stressed in programming that seeks to develop potential future leaders of the republics of the former Soviet Union. Since 1993, over 26,000 students and educators from the NIS and the United States have participated in Initiative-funded programs. The Initiative promotes the exchange of high school students and teachers through grants to private not-for-profit organizations and public educational institutions.

Initiative Goals:

  1. To foster interaction between young people from the United States and the former Soviet Union (NIS); to promote better understanding of one another so as to contribute to our common future through our greatest resource, our youth.
  2. To integrate the people of the former Soviet Union into the global citizenry by assisting young people of the NIS countries in building a new and open society and by promoting democratic values and the development of democratic institutions from the grass roots level.
  3. To build sustainable partnerships between organizations in the United States and organizations in the former Soviet Union by sponsoring high quality programs administered by competent public and private sector organizations and delivered in an expeditious and efficient manner.
  4. To recognize our interdependence and work to effect the most positive contribution possible in the educational system and civic mentality in the former Soviet Union through the multiplier effect of the programs.

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Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program

Approximately 6,200 students from the NIS countries have spent one academic year attending schools and living with host families throughout the U.S. The recruitment and selection process for this program is conducted by two organizations - American Council of Teachers of Russian and Youth for Understanding (YFU). The selection is based on English ability, personality factors, social skills, academic achievement and leadership potential. All students have an extensive orientation to life in America and pursue a full course of study at an American high school. USIA awards grants for school and host family placement and overall student monitoring to several private U.S. organizations including AYUSA, ASSE International, Nacel Open Door Inc., Cultural Homestay International, Center for Cultural Interchange, Pacific Intercultural Exchange, United Studies Student Exchange, World Heritage, Council on International Educational Exchange, Program of Academic Exchange, Youth for Understanding, and AFS Intercultural Programs. After their exchange year has ended, students have the option to participate in one of numerous alumni associations that are active throughout the NIS.

Contact: Dee Aronson.

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School Partnerships Program:

Over 14,000 NIS and U.S. students, teachers, and school administrators from paired schools have participated in reciprocal exchanges of three weeks to one academic year in the host country. This program stimulates community support, kindles an interest in specific thematic areas (such as civic education, entrepreneurship, or environmental studies), and fosters ongoing institutional ties. It also provides access to resources for curriculum development and educational training that promote educational reform and institution-building. Grantees include exchange organizations, community groups, universities, and local school systems. Examples of current projects include the Linking Schools Program, coordinated by the Connecticut State Department of Education; the US-NIS Sister Schools Initiative, coordinated by Sister Cities International; and the School Linkage Newsletter, coordinated by ACTR/ACCELS.

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Teaching Excellence Awards (TEA)

The Teaching Excellence Awards (TEA) seeks to give visibility and tangible recognition to innovative educators and schools from all across the Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakhstani, Kyrgyzstani and Uzbekistani landscapes; to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between American educators and those countries; and to support educational reform and civics education. The program supports a competition for selecting exemplary, innovative teachers of English and American Studies in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, whose schools benefit from awards of equipment and materials; the selection of a portion of these educators as finalists to participate in a summer enrichment program in the U.S.; and a tie-in with American educators selected by merit. Educators are a critically important audience throughout the NIS. They are the multipliers, influencing the younger generation in profound ways. The Teaching Excellence Awards brings a high visibility program with lasting rewards for the participants from the NIS, and for the American participants who travel there. The program is coordinated through a grant to ACTR/ACCELS.

Contact: Dale Prince.

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Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program
A USIA sponsored exchange program between the United States and Germany.
German American Partnership Program
A school partnership program between U.S. high schools and counterparts in Germany.

American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL)

The Office of Citizen Exchanges sponsors this program for young local, state, and federal leaders and their peers from around the world.

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For More Information:

USIA Youth Programs Office
Office of Citizen Exchanges
301 4th Street, S.W. Suite 568
Washington, D.C. 20547
(202) 619-6299
(202) 619-5311 (fax)

You may also contact us at our express services address.

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