For Youth and Secondary School Students

Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP)

The program supports long-range U.S. foreign policy priorities by offering secondary school youth (ages 15-18) and adult educators the opportunity to explore themes such as entrepreneurship, civic education, youth leadership, economic development, and respect for diversity.   Through three-week, intensive exchanges in the United States, participants engage in workshops on leadership and service, community site visits related to the program themes and subthemes, interactive training in conflict resolution, presentations, visits to high schools, local cultural activities, and homestays with local American families.  A key component of the program is for participants to develop follow-on community-based projects in their home communities to effect positive change after their return home.

Selection Criteria

Nomination in this program is done through the English language providers of the English Access Microscholarship Program that will organize a test among their graduating students to select the best qualified students according to the following criteria:

  1. Be a graduate student from our English Access Program who is 15 – 18 years of age by the start of the exchange
  2. Be proficient in English, if nominated for one of the two Anglophone exchanges;
  3. Be proficient in French, if nominated for the Francophone exchange;
  4. Attend at least one semester of high school in his/her home country following completion of the program;
  5. Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  6. Demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in his/her school or community;
  7. Have a high level of academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  8. Demonstrate a commitment to community service and extracurricular activities;
  9. Have had little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home   country;
  10. Be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful and inquisitive; and
  11. Be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive program, community service, and active educational travel program during the exchange, as well as in follow-on activities afterward in their home countries.

For more information, please see:

English Access Microscholarship Program

The Access Program provides a foundation of English language skills to bright, economically disadvantaged students, aged 13- to 20-years old.  Access gives participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Participants also gain the ability to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States. Since Mauritania started this program in 2007, over 900 students have participated in the English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) which provides two years of study through at least 360 hours of intensive, after-school and weekend programming.  Students are selected by the Mauritanian Ministry of Education, who in turn will collect various civil and employment documentation from the potential candidate’s family.  The Ministry, in turn, submits a list of potential candidates to the embassy.

For more information, please see: