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Friday, April 12, 2013

YES Abroad and Fostering Relations With the World

About YES Abroad The Kennedy-Lugar YES Abroad program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is offering American high school students and recent graduates in the U.S. full scholarships for up to one academic year in countries with significant Muslim populations. The YES Abroad program was initiated as a reciprocal extension of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program for international students from countries with significant Muslim populations. The first group of Americans participated in YES Abroad in the 2009-2010 academic year, living and studying in ten select YES countries. The program now offers 65 full scholarships to American students nationwide. YES Abroad students serve as “youth ambassadors” of the United States, promoting mutual understanding by forming lasting relationships with their host families and communities. Participants live with a host family, attend a local high school, acquire leadership skills, and engage in activities to learn about the host country’s society and values while helping to educate others about American society and values. For specific details, click on any of the participating countries in the list above. As the days are winding down to the day Finalist notifications are to come out, I've been working on a research paper for my AP English class. This particular paper was about War on Terror. Though I had an idea of what "War on Terror" was, being able to delve into it and write about it was really eye-opening and made me realize that what YES Abroad is doing is beyond what you would consider "great." In fact, it being "great" is an understatement. A quote that stood out for me in my research was on of Martin Luther King Jr.'s: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." Wholeheartedly, I believe that this quote speaks volumes. "How can you win a war on terror with terror, I doubt it is by creating deadlier remote controlled killing machines." And lastly, for this year's semi-finalists and those semi-finalists to come if you don't get the scholarship don't let that dissuade you. Don't "splinter" and only see a small portion of the picture. look at the picture as a whole and remember that when one door closes, another one opens. Continue to build onto your dreams and intentions to foster relations with America, the Middle-East and the world. Allie Campbell

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