Community Exchange Program in USA

Community Exchange Program USA

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The CEE (Community Engagement Exchange) Program provides an exciting opportunity for young leaders from around the world to engage in community service and leadership development in the United States. Applications for the 2025 cohort are now being accepted; the deadline is July 2, 2024. This blog allows us to go into more detail about the program, who it is for, the benefits, and what this has meant for our new civil society leaders.

About the Community Engagement Exchange (CEE) Program

The CEE Program is a dynamic global network that aims to teach young innovators how they can solve some of the most pressing issues that confront the youth of the 21st century, hosted by IREX. It is a program designed to create sound and active communities in more than 100 countries. CEE Fellows are chosen for their commitment and drive to advance civic dialogue, peacebuilding, participatory governance, gender equality, environmental sustainability, and youth mobilization.

Key Components of the CEE Program

Three-Month Practicum in the United States:

CEE Fellows participate in a practical field experience at civil society organizations in the United States. During this practicum, they receive guidance from supervisors and colleagues to gain real-world experience and develop their professional skills.

Leadership and Civic Engagement Academy:

Fellows engage in a multi-faceted program that incorporates: practical community service, in-person leadership training, mentoring support, and expert coaching. Additionally, fellows join a worldwide network of influential individuals.

Community Engagement Project (CEP):

Fellows receive support from U.S. organizations and experts to develop community projects that they can execute in their home countries. This ensures that the expertise and knowledge they acquire during their training is used to improve their local communities.

Community Engagement Project (CEP) Exchange:

American experts and specialists from Central and Eastern Europe collaborate by visiting each other’s countries to assist with project implementation. This exchange fosters valuable knowledge-sharing, enriching communities in the United States and abroad.

Eligibility Criteria:

The CEE Program is highly competitive and open to emerging civil society and community leaders who meet the following criteria:

  • Aged 21-27.
  • Citizens of one of the eligible countries (listed below).
  • Currently living and working in their home country at the time of application.
  • Minimum of two years of professional or volunteer experience in community or civil society issues.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English.
  • Commitment to returning to their home country after the program to implement a community-based project.

Applicants must also be able to receive a U.S. J-1 visa and begin the program in 2025.

Ineligible Candidates:

The U.S.-based CEE Program restricts eligibility by not allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents to apply. Additionally, people enrolled in academic or training programs in the U.S. are ineligible. Furthermore, individuals who have participated in previous U.S. government exchange programs and have not completed the required two-year home residency period are excluded.

Financial Support

The CEE Program covers most expenses, including:

  • J-1 visa support.
  • Round-trip travel from the participant’s home city to the U.S.
  • Monthly allowance for housing, meals, and other living expenses.
  • Accident and sickness health benefits.

Eligible Countries by Region:

Africa: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

East Asia and the Pacific: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.

Europe and Eurasia: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Türkiye, and Ukraine.

Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Palestinian Territories.

South and Central Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Western Hemisphere: Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

Benefits of the Program

Participating in the CEE Program offers numerous benefits, including:

  1. Professional Development: Fellows gain hands-on experience, professional skills, and mentorship from established civil society organizations in the U.S.
  2. Global Network: Fellows join a vast network of like-minded leaders and experts, fostering long-term connections and collaborations.
  3. Community Impact: The program equips fellows with the knowledge and tools to implement impactful projects in their home communities.
  4. Cultural Exchange: Participants experience U.S. culture and society firsthand, enriching their personal and professional lives.

Official Link


The 2025 Community Engagement Exchange Program is a unique opportunity for young leaders to enhance their skills, expand their networks, and make a significant impact in their communities. With comprehensive support and a transformative experience in the U.S., CEE Fellows are well-positioned to drive positive change worldwide. If you meet the eligibility criteria, don’t miss this chance to apply by July 2, 2024, and embark on a journey of growth and community engagement. For other opportunities please check our main page.


Community Exchange Program USA
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Community Exchange Program in USA

The CEE (Community Engagement Exchange) Program provides an exciting opportunity for young leaders from around the world to engage in community service and leadership development

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