Youth Ambassador Student Exchange
Initiated 1977, YASE remains the only formal bilateral public secondary school exchange between the United States and Israel. AIFL’s partners in YASE are the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, American Association of School Administrators in the U.S., and the Israel Youth Exchange Council.
Thousands of 10th and 11th grade primarily non-Jewish American students and Israeli (Jewish and Arab) students have been involved in this month long exchange program where chaperoned American and Israeli students gain the experience of living in each other's country and homes. Because YASE takes place while the high schools are still in session, students attend school in their host countries.
Each program is conducted around a current international theme. The program begins with the arrival of Israeli youth ambassadors and their chaperones to the US where they reside with host families for a week in selected participating cities. All host families are screened carefully using private companies and or software to run background checks. The youth ambassadors attend school with their host student and are able to experience everyday American life. Each host city provides an agenda for the students' activities during their home hospitality program. The host families are also invited to plan family activities to engage the youth ambassadors as well.
Upon completing their home hospitality program the Israeli and American youth ambassadors meet in Washington DC and New York where they participate in workshops and seminars to increase their appreciation for diversity and tolerance and enhance awareness of international affairs. The youth ambassadors actively participate in the program, making presentations and leading discussions about their countries and home cities relevant to the programmatic theme. Prior to embarking on their YASE experience, the students are asked to prepare these presentations as a group which allows them to become acquainted with the other members of their delegation and build a sense of camaraderie.
Students visit cultural sites and are invited to briefings at the United Nations, the New York Tolerance Center, Ground Zero Memorial and Ellis Island. Following their stay in New York the youth ambassadors depart for Israel during which the American youth ambassadors enjoy a week of home hospitality and are engaged in workshops, seminars and site visits in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as part of the cultural program prepared by the Israel Youth Exchange Council.
Follow-up activities involving Youth Ambassador Alumni include:
- Local orientation programs for new Youth Ambassador participants
- Promoting the program through presentations to local civic groups, interviews and AIFL PR events, receptions and other program activities throughout the year
- Classroom presentations of YASE experience back home in schools, clubs and places of worship
- Volunteering for AIFL local chapters
- Keeping in touch with other group members through alumni area on AIFL website
- Planned annual Youth Ambassador reunions in New York City
2013 Youth Ambassador Student Exchange Program
The dates this year’s Youth Ambassador Student Exchange (YASE) program, are October 24th to November 21st, 2013. The program outline for this year is as follows:
Israeli Youth Ambassadors will arrive in the US - October 24th
Houston Independent School District (TX): Bellaire and Lamar High Schools
- Johnson County Central Public Schools (NE)
- Bethany and Broken Arrow School Districts (OK): Broken Arrow High School
- Virginia Beach Public Schools (VA): Tallwood High School
- New York City Public Schools (NYC): Curtis (SI) and Herbert H. Lehman High Schools (Bx)
- Hakfar Hayarok
- Rishon LeZion