Interested in being a
host family?

Applications for host families are now being accepted for the 2016-2017 year. Click here for more information.

Country Map

Impact Stories

YES Alumna to Deliver Keynote

YES Alumna to Deliver Keynote

YES Alumna Shabana Basij-Rasikh was recently selected to deliver the Keynote address during The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) Global Symposium March 2013. 

Shabana was born and raised in Kabul, where she completed her secondary education at Maryam High School. After attending high school in Onalaska, WI, through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program sponsored by the U.S. State Department, Shabana attended Middlebury College, graduating magna cum laude in International Studies and Women & Gender Studies, and studied Arabic and Islamic law at Alexandria University in Egypt.

During college, she founded HELA, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering Afghan women through education. She also raised funds through foundations and public talks across the U.S. to build a high school for girls in her ancestral village, and wells in the outskirts of Kabul to give communities access to clean drinking water. An enthusiast of systemic change and community impact, Shabana was selected as one of Glamour® Magazine's Top 10 College Women of 2010, and was awarded the Vermont Campus Compact 2011 Kunin Public Award for outstanding public service, effective leadership and community-building. Shabana currently serves as the National Gender Mainstreaming Advisor at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Kabul.

To hear Shabana's speech during the TEDxWomen event in Washington, D.C. please click here.