Central American Youth Ambassadors (CAYA)

CAYA_logo.jpgThe CAYA Program brings together high school students and adult mentors from countries across Central America to promote mutual understanding, increase leadership skills, and prepare youth to make a difference in their communities. Exchanges are primarily from Central America to the United States, but also include delegations from the United States to select Central American countries.

The program offers Central American youth from Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama the opportunity to experience and expand their knowledge of U.S. culture, society, and education. The overarching program goal is to increase mutual understanding among peoples of the Americas. The program will not only provide new knowledge and experience for participants, but also prepare them for a lifetime of leadership and community service.

This program has been designed for youth between 15 and 18 years of age, and for teachers and youth program coordinators who have shown superior leadership and entrepreneurship skills.It is funded by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and is administered by the Center for Intercultural Education and Development (CIED) at Georgetown University, Washington, DC.  

NMU's International Programs Office, along with Marquette business owners and community members, hosts the students and group leaders for the week-long program twice a year. The purpose is to deliver innovative academic, cultural, and community outreach programs for emerging global student leaders and educate them on entrepreneurship, leadership and volunteering skills. In the community, CAYA students visit local businesses and participate in cross-cultural learning activities with students from local High Schools. The CAYA group leaders also attend workshops and skillbuilders.

The International Programs Office plans to host the CAYA program again in January 2012. For questions about the program or how to become involved, contact the International Programs office at ipo@nmu.edu or 906-227-2510. Visit the CAYA Facebook page for additional information, updates and photos.

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