Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Richard Rodman


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is increasingly focused on youth exchange programs to build bridges of understanding between peoples and address ongoing social, environmental, and political challenges in an increasingly globalized world. The Emerging Youth Leaders program is a unique Department of State exchange program that brought a group of thirty Senegalese and American students together for 6 weeks in Dakar and the San Francisco Bay Area in the summer of 2010 around the themes of democracy and governance in civil society. Over the course of the U.S. based portion of the program I observed a need for the program to be restructured and strengthened, by starting pre-departure work earlier, conducting appropriate orientations and re-entry components, and infusing the curriculum with additional experiential design elements. This capstone paper is a detailed outline of the restructured program, emphasizing experiential education theory and best practices in the field.

By redesigning the program, the thematic scope is enriched and broadened. Experiential education philosophy and theory are incorporated during all of the program activities. Participants learn from each other about real life issues faced by many communities, and are challenged to develop and implement a community project that addresses an issue of their choice. The enhanced program is a fresh and necessary addition to AYUSA’s current portfolio of youth exchanges, focusing on a diverse demographic. The redesigned Emerging Youth Leaders program is a strong model for AYUSA as the organization continues to increase its focus on providing opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills and engage with real world challenges.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | International and Area Studies | International and Comparative Education