Look for the 2013 IYLEP Application in Mid-October 2012!


Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program
Iraqi High School Student Application


Look for the 2013 IYLEP Application in Mid-October 2012!

United States

IYLEP for high school students is sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Youth Programs Division, and administered by World Learning and Meridian International Center.

Program Introduction and Application Instructions

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program is a four week youth leadership exchange based in the U.S. for Iraqi and American teenagers ages 15-18 and several Iraqi adults. The program aims to develop a cadre of young adults in Iraq and the United States who have a strong sense of civic responsibility, a commitment to community development, an awareness of current & global issues, strong interpersonal leadership skills, willingness to foster relationships among youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups in Iraq, and to promote mutual understanding, respect and collaboration between the United States and Iraq.  Participants will be required to implement follow-on activities upon their return home that will help the participants stay in touch with each other and reflect on their experiences and integrate that learning into their day-to-day lives at home. An important goal of the program is that the student leaders, now empowered, will train other student leaders through student led community oriented service projects.

The goals of the program are to:

1) enable the participants to understand civic participation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy;

2) develop leadership skills among high school students and adult leaders appropriate to their needs;

3) foster understanding and build relationships across ethnic, religious, and national groups; and

4) promote mutual understanding between the people of Iraq and the U.S.

What is covered?

There is no application fee for applicants.

The United States Government, in conjunction with its private partners, will pay for international transportation to and from the United States, orientations, program and visa fees and administration, site visits and seminars, lodging and meals, some cultural activities, educational materials, accident and sickness insurance, and a modest amount of pocket money.  Participants will stay with volunteer host families and in conference centers.

Participants are responsible for expenses related to the application process (copying, mailing, photographs, etc.), passport fees, and spending money for souvenirs and other items in the United States.

Who is eligible to apply?

Student applicants must:

  • have a high school graduation year of 2012 or later;
  • have permission from either a parent or legal guardian to participate in the four-week program, approximately to begin in July of 2012; and
  • Citizenship and current residency in Iraq  (applicants with dual U.S. citizenship will not be considered).


What are the criteria for selection?

Students will be evaluated on the following characteristics:

  • a demonstrated interest in and commitment to volunteer and civic activities;
  • ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and tolerate the opinions of others;
  • leadership potential;
  • be proficient in English;
  • good social and communication skills;
  • good academic performance;
  • an energetic, positive attitude; and
  • ability to implement projects that benefit the applicant’s school and/or community.

Applicants who can answer yes to either of the following statements are not eligible to apply.

  • Applicants who have been to the U.S. on a U.S. government funded exchange program; and
  • Applicants who are in the process of applying or wish to apply for U.S. immigration. 

Required Documents to be submitted with the Application

The online application will ask you to upload the following documents:

  • Passport-sized photo. Your face must be visible and clear;
  • Copy of the photo page of your passport;
  • Passport copies not uploaded with your application by December 18, 2011 (11:59 PM Iraq time) should be uploaded to  http://bit.ly/StudentHSDocs (case sensitive!) by January 18, 2012.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation from teachers or an adult who is not related to you (uploaded by you directly to your application or uploaded by your recommender to http://bit.ly/StudentHSDocs (case sensitive!)).  Download the Letter of Recommendation Form.
  • A signed parent/guardian permission form (uploaded to your application by December 18, 2011).

Selection Process

  • Individuals that make it past the initial application review by our panel will be contacted for an interview in January or February 2012;

    Due to large quantity of applications received, it is not possible to inform all applicants of their status. Thus, applicants can assume that they were not chosen if they have not been contacted by the hosting organization by February 2012;

    Applicants  will be assigned to a U.S. hosting organization by random selection;

  • Passport copies not submitted with the online application be uploaded to http://bit.ly/StudentHSDocs (case sensitive!) NO LATER than January 18, 2012.
  • Additional questions should be emailed to the IYLEPHIGHSCHOOL@gmail.com


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about the application or program?  Please click the Questions (FAQ) tab at the top of the page.

To apply to IYLEP, please click on the Online Instructions tab at the top of this page.

Thank you for your interest in the program and good luck with your applications!

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