International YES Alumni Reunion Strengthens U.S.-Pakistan Ties

Islamabad | June 26, 2014

U.S. Embassy Islamabad and the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) welcomed more than 350 alumni of the Kennedy-Luger Youth Exchange & Study (YES) exchange program to an international reunion held June 26-28 in Islamabad. U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson and Farah Kamal, Executive Director of the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN), greeted the students, including attendees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and India.

“When I look into this audience, I see a bright future for our countries,” Ambassador Olson said at the reunion. “We admire you and your work, and we are grateful that you are willing to work hard to improve your communities throughout this country and the South Asian region.”

During the three-day reunion, alumni will share their experiences in the United States; participate in workshops on activism, entrepreneurship, leadership, and civil society development; enjoy cultural and music performances; and brainstorm ideas for community service projects that benefit their countries’ social and economic development. The reunion will culminate in a collaborative art project with local schoolchildren, helping the alumni to learn how to use art as a tool for community engagement.

Participants in the YES exchange program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by iEARN, spend one academic year studying at a high school in the United States and living with an American host family. YES participants are recruited from Pakistan’s historically underserved populations. For the past 11 years, more than 700 Pakistanis have participated in the YES program, and the U.S. Embassy will send 108 more students to the United States this fall. Learn more

The U.S. government invests nearly $40 million annually on exchange programs for Pakistani citizens. More than 1,200 Pakistanis participate in the various high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional U.S.-sponsored exchange programs each year. The Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) is one of the largest U.S. alumni networks in the world. It consists of more than 13,000 students and professionals who have participated in U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs and organizes a number of events in Pakistan, including community service projects, leadership trainings, roundtable discussions, and community engagement activities. Learn more at