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International exchange students tour Indiana Statehouse

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — International students from the Youth Exchange and Study program and Future Leaders Exchange Program toured the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday.

The Future Leaders Exchange Program provides merit-based scholarships funded by the U.S. State Department for high school students from Europe and Eurasia to spend a school year in the United States. Nations participating in the program include Armenia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Romania, and Ukraine.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. Senators Ted Kennedy and Dick Lugar founded the merit-based Youth Exchange and Study program for U.S. students to study abroad and for international high school students to spend a school year in the U.S. to improve international understanding. Participating nations all have significant Muslim populations and include Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.

The State Department requires YES and FLEX students to participate in activities that improve their knowledge of how government works on local, state, and national levels.

One of the students touring the Statehouse was Medyen Jubran of Bethlehem (West Bank). Jubran says he learned a great deal about how a bill becomes a law.

“It was so much fun to hear to these representatives and senators to tell us how their bills go through the process and how they get signed by the governor and become a law, which is a big accomplishment by senator or representative,” Jubran said.

More than 900 YES students compete for merit scholarships each year.