OKIE/AIFL Student Exchange Program

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For the second year in a row, OKIE will join the Youth Ambassador Student Exchange (YASE) program hosted by the America Israel Friendship League (AIFL). In the fall of 2006, Jenks High School senior, Andrew McQuary traveled to New York City, Washington D.C. and Israel along with a group of students from the United States, the Former Soviet Union (FSU) and Israel.


The difference for OKIE during the fall 2007 program is two-fold. First, three students, one from each high school in the Edmond Oklahoma Public School District, will be selected by the school district to participate in this year’s YASE program. These students will host international students in Edmond, travel with these students to New York City, Washington D.C. and Israel, and finally provide follow-up programming on International Relations within the Edmond schools during the spring semester of 2008 and the fall 2008 and spring 2009 school years.


Second, Edmond, Oklahoma has been selected by AIFL as a host city and the Edmond Public School District has been selected as a host school district. This means that approximately ten students from the FSU and Israel, along with their chaperons, will be hosted by families in the Edmond area for approximately one week at the start of this year’s YASE program. While in Edmond, they will join with the Edmond Public School Students who will be participating in this year’s YASE to provide international programming within the three high schools in the Edmond School District. All the students will then travel together to the U.S. cities mentioned above and to Israel.


The Oklahoma coordinator for OKIE and AIFL YASE program, Michael Barlow, himself a longtime educator stated, “Last year’s program with our Jenks student, Andrew McQuary proved to be extremely valuable for everyone involved. When I traveled to Israel during the spring of 2007 and visited some of the same schools that had been on the YASE agenda, the students and teachers all remembered Andrew. His participation basically put Oklahoma on the map for Israelis in several towns.” “This year’s program is very significant, not only because we will be sending three Oklahoma students, but also because we will have a host city. Last year all the traveling students were hosted in Arizona, and it will be a boon to our area to be hosting this international gathering in Oklahoma this year,” Barlow continued.

OKIE President, Gary Miller praised the AIFL and commented, “OKIE is proud to partner with the America Israel Friendship League in this extraordinary program. I’ve traveled on an AIFL mission to Israel and know the caliber of these trips. We are excited to be able to reciprocate and offer Oklahoma hospitality to those students visiting the US through this project.”

OKIE Executive Director, Susan Currie expressed with pride, “This is a great opportunity for these students. Part of the mission of the Oklahoma Israel Exchange is educating both Israelis and Oklahomans about each others culture. To be able to travel and experience not only their educational process, but also how the other lives is invaluable.”