Story last updated at 7/1/2009 - 11:57 am
ASSE International Student Exchange Programs (ASSE) is participating in the State Department sponsored Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) which brings high school students from the former Soviet Union to the United States.
This global initiative, which began in 1993, was originally conceived out of former Senator Bill Bradley's conviction that true democracy in the former Soviet Union could be realized only through targeting the young people in those countries.
Through this historic program, students are provided scholarships to spend an academic year in the U.S. while living with American host families and further seeks to foster democracy-building and increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and FLEX students' home countries.
"When it comes to increasing understanding between people from different cultures and countries, nothing is as powerful as sharing your daily life with someone from another part of the world," says Alina Romanowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. "We are encouraging American families and schools to open their doors to these extraordinary young people from other countries.
"When a high school exchange student is welcomed into a family and a community, the student gets a view of America that will make a profound difference in who they are and how they relate to and view Americans forever after. At the same time, people in the community have an opportunity to benefit in ways that will also change the way they look at the world."
The FLEX Program is seen as vital to expanding communication between people of the United States and the partner countries in the interest of promoting mutual understanding and respect.
ASSE is currently seeking qualified host families to welcome these special scholarship students coming from Armenia, Azerbaijan, The Republic of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
FLEX scholarship students will acquire an understanding of American values, build on leadership skills, and learn about the important elements of American civil society. Upon returning home, FLEX scholarship students will work together to share what they have learned while in America and make a difference in their home countries.
To learn more about the FLEX Program, call 1-800-733-2773 or visit www.asse.com.