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PIA Press Release

US-based exchange program opens doors for Lumad, Moro and Christian youth

by Carina L. Cayon

Davao City (10 November) -- The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs U.S. Department of State has announced that it's now accepting youth applicants for a five-week U.S.-based exchange program on responsible citizenship, community service leadership and action plan development slated from April 16-May 21, 2011.

The program will choose from among interested applicants a total of 22 Lumad, Moro and Christian third year high school or first year college students from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and surrounding provinces, who will attend the 8th Philippine Youth Leadership Program.

In its announcement, the US education and cultural affairs bureau through the Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, U.S.A.) and in partnership with the International Visitors Program-Philippines Alumni Foundation, Inc. (IVP), also opens the program to four adult leaders from same areas.

The NIU said that the program which will take place in the DeKalb, Chicago area, and in Washington, D.C., will tackle on topics such as civic responsibility, community engagement, volunteerism and service learning.

Anchoring on the theme "Building a New Generation of Citizens as Catalysts for Social Change," the program also requires the youth participants to attend programs on leadership development and transformation, diversity, tolerance and conflict management, and action plan development.

The NIU informed that the submission of application forms which are available through the regional or lead regional coordinator, will be sent by mail or email to the regional coordinator on or before November 30, 2010 (Tuesday).

The youth applicants must meet the following criteria: must be at least 15 years old and not more than 17 years old by April 16, 2011; can speak, read and write in English; must have demonstrated leadership skills; active in community service and in peace-building or related activities and must have good academic performance.

For the adult leaders, applicants must preferably be teachers or NGO or community leaders working with the youth, must be at least 25 years old and not more than 35 years old by April 16, 2011 and must possess good English language skills.

Moreover, the adult participants must be active in peace-related activities or community outreach projects and in projects related to training youth to be responsible citizens.

The other criteria required for the youth and adult participants are the following: secure character references and letter of institutional endorsement and support; must have no previous significant travel to the US on a US-government-sponsored program, and will have to attend the program's follow-on activities.

The NIU announcement further noted that "applicants in the short list will be directly notified on the date, location and venue of the final interview."

It also stressed that "applicants who have family members (father, mother, sister or brother) and cousins within the first degree who have participated in the previous PYLP and The Past is Always Ahead of Us: Empowering Indigenous and Minority Leaders in the Southern Philippines program, also coordinated through the IVP, are not qualified to participate in this program."

The lead regional coordinator is Dr. Lourdes Tolod who is based in the School of Education at the Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro City with contact number (0917) 716 9292 and email address

The regional coordinators are the following: Dr. Susana Anayatin of DTI ARMM Regional Office for Cotabato City, Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Kidapawan City; and Dr. Victoria F.D. Bat-og of Southern Christian College at Midsayap for the areas of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani Province, Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte.

The coordinator for Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Bukidnon, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay, is Mona Lisa Pangan of Xavier University-Campus Ministries Office.

Alber Husin of the Ateneo del Zamboanga University is the coordinator for Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan. (PIA-XI) [top]

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