Recently, we were reminded that what YFU does remains just as relevant today as at the time of our founding. In the wake of World War II, 75 German teenagers were invited into American homes to build bridges of tolerance and understanding. More than 60 years later, the tradition continues as we welcome students from all around the world, including those from misunderstood and misrepresented countries.This past July, members of the Northern York County School Board in Pennsylvania questioned accepting one of YFU’s YES Scholar’s into their school district. The student in question was Rami, a young man from the West Bank. There had been concern regarding his religious and political affiliation, some even fearing he could bring anti-American beliefs to the region.
YFU President, Michael Hill was a fierce advocate for Rami, stating, "There are two potential responses to conflict. One is to shy away from that which you don't understand and hope that it leaves you alone in life. The other is to actively engage it and to try to have an understanding, to have a better world overall."
Students, teachers and community members joined the debate. After thoughtful discussion, including communications with YFU regarding the application, screening and selection process, we were thrilled to hear that the school board unanimously voted to accept Rami!
Stories like Rami’s remind us of the courage of the young people from post-war Germany whose intercultural journey represented a first step toward peace. Rami, his fellow YFU YES scholars, and all of our students are ready and willing to be a part of this legacy of public diplomacy.
YFU President, Michael Hill and Rami at YES Scholar orientation in Washington, DC.
Here’s what the media had to say:
- Exchange student organization defends Palestinian student seeking admission to Northern York County School District
YFU advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities.