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The YES program was established by Congress in October 2002.


IRIS and others pioneered this effort to offer students from countries not normally included in traditional high school exchange program to experience a year in an American high school. Since becoming affiliated with the YES program in 2003, IRIS has made it possible for more than 900 high school scholars to live and study in Iowa!


Learn More

If you want more information about a particular student or hosting in general, contact IRIS today! Schools have limited spots for exchange students, so time runs out quickly to get students placed in some districts.


Call 515-978-4464 or email!

Our Student's Point of View


The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program were established by Congress in October 2002 in response to the events of September 11, 2001. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of State and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up to one academic year in the United States. In addition to attending school, students live with volunteer host families and engage in volunteer service and participate in activities to learn about American society, acquire leadership skills and help educate Americans about their country and culture.

The program has continued to expand and now includes students from the following countries: Albania, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Egypt, Gaza, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel (Arab Communities), Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, North Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, and West Bank. To learn more about the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, visit the YES website.

Why these students?

The YES program focuses on countries with significant Muslim populations. The program also helps these students live the American high school experience for one academic year. With the goal of helping educate Americans about the students’ countries and cultures,

the YES program provides scholarships to scholarly, English-speaking high school students worldwide. These students are viewed as the future leaders of the world. Each student has been chosen for the YES program to represent their country and promote

international understanding, development, and peace. Although the majority of IRIS’ YES exchange students have come from Nigeria and Tanzania, since 2002, Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study students have come from 30 different countries worldwide.

Yes Programs Partner

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