Washington D.C. — A landmark anniversary celebration was held at the prestigious Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room, commemorating the collective milestones of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX), and Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programs. Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield presided over the reception, attended by a distinguished assembly of 350 guests including 170 program alumni, partnering organization representatives, and Department of State personnel.

Highlighting the event were speeches from notable figures such as former Prime Minister of Moldova and FLEX alumna Natalia Gavrilița, and former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. Both emphasized the critical role of youth exchange programs in fostering dialogue and mutual understanding across cultures.

The anniversary also marked the inauguration of the Center for Global Leadership (CGL), introduced by its Director, Sam Potolicchio. The CGL has launched an advanced curriculum bridging theory with practice, aiming to cultivate leadership in young individuals through various initiatives:

· Direct delivery of virtual and in-person intensive leadership sessions.

· Networking with esteemed academic and private sector leaders.

· Equipping future leaders with skills for the competitive global landscape.

· Fostering innovative approaches to global challenges.

In collaboration with global partners, the CGL commits to inspiring and preparing the next generation of leaders. The anniversary event not only served as a closure for the YES program’s 20-year celebrations but also initiated the FLEX program’s 30-year commemoration activities.

Through training sessions led by the American Councils’ Center for Global Leadership, alumni had the privilege of engaging with influential figures, including Dr. Raj Shah of the Rockefeller Foundation, PBS Newshour’s Amna Nawaz, and Ambassadors Capricia Marshall, William Taylor, and Marie Yovanovitch.

Networking activities were orchestrated by Elvira Dana and aimed at interconnecting alumni hailing from nearly 70 countries, sparking dialogue on diverse topics of global relevance. Acknowledgements were extended by American Councils’ soon to be President and CEO Lisa Choate and the FLEX and YES Teams at the U.S. Department of State, recognizing the attendees’ impactful community contributions.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who played a role in organizing, participating in, and executing this significant event. The kickoff event for the CGL is but the beginning of a transformative journey for the world’s burgeoning young leaders.

For more information or to request the full list of speakers, please reach out to the FLEX and YES Programs at FLEXAlumni@americancouncils.org and/or YESAlumni@americancouncils.org

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