October 2016 News

Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Exchange Program

Monday, October 31, 2016

African Guests visit the Indiana Academy

For the third year in a row, Ball State University’s Center for International Development (CID) was selected to host the Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP), a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Selected students travel to the United States in the spring, summer, and fall each year. From October 12 through 25, 72 African high school students and adult mentors from Benin, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger visited the Ball State campus and the Indiana Academy.

After four days spent in Washington, DC learning about U.S. history and culture along with our nation’s system of democratic governance, they spent two weeks at Ball State University. On the university campus participants discovered what classroom-based lectures are like, experienced training and simulations focused on social entrepreneurship, attended interactive workshops, and were involved in community engagement. The participants also had time for site visits, cultural and volunteer activities, and speaking engagements which provided hands-on learning opportunities for skills application and networking.

Early in their visit, Indiana Academy students joined the exchange students for lunch and attended a panel discussion with them. Our students and the visiting exchange students were able to get to know one another through conversations on their cultures, lifestyles, interests, and current events. For French instructor Jennifer Robinson this was an extremely valuable opportunity. “So often people don’t realize that French is spoken in over 40 countries around the world,” Robinson said. “So having student representatives from six francophone countries in Africa visit our school really makes learning French relevant.” Our students also benefit from the international interactions. Indiana Academy student Katie Kolozsvari summed up the experience, “I loved being able to use my French with native French speakers, and it was amazing to be able to learn about the different current events in the countries that were represented.”