For the first time ever, the U.S. Department of State’s Youth Leadership Program (YLP) is bringing U.S. teenagers to study and visit Bosnia and Herzegovina. A group of 18 New York City public high school students and two teachers arrived to Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 26 and will stay here until July 19. Over the course of the three week trip, the students will visit Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka, Prijedor, and Sanski Most, for workshops, meetings with local leaders and activists, and cultural and educational activities. The bulk of time will be spent in Sanski Most, living with families and engaging in dialogue and community projects alongside BiH peers.
Participants will take part in local service-learning activities and conduct social media projects to advance dialogue and community building. The program will encourage participants to reflect on the role they can play in creating positive change and to use technology and social media to report and share their views. You can follow their trip and learn about their experiences in BiH through Twitter (handle @GKAYLPBosnia) and Tumblr (http://gkaylpbosnia.tumblr.
Participating students come from Long Island City High School (Queens); John Adams High School (Queens); W.C. Bryant High School (Queens); The High School for Global Citizenship (Brooklyn); the School for Democracy and Leadership, Wingate Campus (Brooklyn); Curtis High School (Staten Island); and Notre Dame School of Manhattan.
The Youth Leadership Program, which sends students and educators from Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United States, has operated for nearly 14 years and sent over 260 young people on cultural and educational exchanges to the U.S. This is the first time the program has included a reverse exchange bringing Americans to BiH.
The three-week trip was made possible by the U.S. Department of State’sAmerican Youth Leadership Program and is being organized by the New York-based non-profit educational organization Global Kids in partnership with Global Youth Connect, a U.S.-based human rights organization, and the Center for Peacebuilding, an organization that works with young people to nurture trust and mutual understanding in Sanski Most. It is part of efforts to empower youth worldwide by demonstrating the power of citizen diplomacy, the importance of intercultural understanding, and the role of media in conflict, peacebuilding and social change.