Celebrating 20 Years of the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program

Posted by J. Adam Ereli
May 15, 2013
Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program Participants Pose for a Photo at the Civic Education Workshop

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, along with more than 22,000 alumni from 12 different countries, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program.  

Each year, the FLEX program brings students from Eurasia to the United States. They spend a year living with an American host family, attending an American high school, and getting involved in their host community.

Started in 1993 by Senator William Bradley and Congressman James Leach, the scholarship program was designed with their conviction that, "The best way to ensure long-lasting peace and understanding between the U.S. and Eurasia is to enable young people to learn about democracy firsthand through experiencing it."

Today, online and in-person here at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, along with our partner American Councils, U.S. placement organizations, and our embassies and consulates around the world, we are celebrating the start of the 20th anniversary year of this amazing program by sharing our stories, photos, and memories.

To get the celebrations started, we want to share some fun facts about the program:

  • 22,000: The number of students who’ve participated in the FLEX program over the last 20 years.              
  • 793: Students who participate in the FLEX program this year.
  • 1 in 50: The ratio of applicants ultimately selected for the program each year.  
  • 51: Number of U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) that have hosted FLEX students.
  • 15-17: The age participants must be to apply for the program.
  • 12: Total number of countries that have participated in the program. Current countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine.
  • 200:  FLEX students this year who’ve earned certificates for completing over 100 hours of volunteer service in their U.S. host communities.
  • Over 1 million: Community service hours FLEX students have completed over the 20 years of the program.

We are proud of FLEX's 20 years legacy, solidifying Senator Bradley and Congressman Leach's commitment to building relationships between the United States and Eurasia. 

Please join us in celebrating on Twitter using #FLEX20 or on the FLEX Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FLEXProgram.

Want to become a part of the FLEX family? Learn more about how to host a FLEX student at hosting.state.gov.

About the Author: Ambassador J. Adam Ereli serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

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