Youth Leadership and Teacher Professional Development Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina
Community Service * Consensus Building * Civic Engagement
Between Spring 2012 and Fall 2014, FIUTS welcomed six groups of participants of The Youth Leadership and Teacher Professional Development Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.
FIUTS designed and delivered an intensive, interactive 4-week program for this diverse group of secondary school students and teachers in Seattle, WA and Washington D.C. Throughout the program students and teachers interacted with American peers, local NGOs, civic leaders and subject experts around Seattle. Participants explored critical thinking, consensus building, civic engagement and community service as tools for advocacy and leadership.
The goals of this program were to enhance the understanding of the democratic process and citizen engagement, build understanding between program participants from different areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, empower youth to have a voice in the debates shaping the future of their communities, and to provide the skills and contacts for youth to conduct community service projects in their own cities.
The program included the following:
- A personal leadership retreat
- Workshops and courses led by experts in the fields of diversity, ethical leadership, project management, civic engagement and community service
- Hands on cultural enrichment activities in Seattle including homestays, visits to high schools and recreational activities with American peers
- An educational and cultural field trip to Washington, D.C.
The 126 total program participants have returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina with the intention to apply the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained from the program to directly benefit their communities. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, program participants are collaborated with their peers to develop and implement their own community service projects.
Examples of service projects implemented by Alumni of FIUTS hosted YLP programs include:
- Computer Lab - Participants from Sarajevo set up an internet connected computer lab in a local Sarajevo orphanage for 99 children and teens. Participants facilitated the donation of 10 USAID computers, worked with orphanage staff to set up the lab and coordinated free computer workshops and trainings for residents.
- Promoting Volunteerism in Sarajevo - Inspired by their service work in Seattle, participants from Sarajevo gave a series of lectures and presentations about the importance and impact of youth volunteerism in the local community.
- Swim School - In response to a string of tragic drownings in their town of Orasje, YLP Alumni developed a series of free swim lessons for local youth.
- Family in Need -YLP Alumni from Bijeljina collected donations of food, baby clothes, toys and school supplies and distributed them to a for a local poor family of 11. Their project was followed closely by a number of local radio and television stations.
For more information on the Youth Leadership and Teacher Professional Development Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina, contact Alison Kilkenny, Manager of Education Programs at 206-543-1571 or alison [@] fiuts.org
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which sponsors the Youth Leadership Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina, promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private-sector, professional, and sports exchange programs. Visit exchange.state.gov to learn more.