The 2022-2023 Community Engagement Exchange (CEE) Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by IREX.
The CEE Program is a dynamic global network of innovators working with communities to address critical 21st Century issues. CEE equips dedicated visionaries with the expertise, skills, and resources to develop multisector approaches and build healthy and engaged communities in over 100 countries.
A transformational leadership development experience, CEE is a year-long program designed to enable civil society leaders, ages 21-28, to harness the power of networks, relationships, and information for the public good, specifically on issues related to civic dialogue and peacebuilding, open and participatory government, women and gender, resilience and sustainable development, and youth engagement.
- Prepare the next generation of decision makers, thought leaders, and community activists, empowering participants to assume greater leadership roles in their institutions and communities and creating a pipeline of global leaders.
- Build capacity for civil society leaders and civil society organizations by equipping participants with the knowledge, skills, experiences, and democratic principles necessary to be informed and active members of their communities.
- Strengthen participants’ ability to lead collaboratively and ethically, while addressing issues of public concern.
- Develop a global network of diverse, multi-disciplinary civil society and community leaders that contribute to a global civil society eco-system and work together to develop multifaceted and innovative approaches to healthy and resilient communities.
Fellowship components include:
- Three-month U.S.-based practicum: CEE fellows are matched with nonprofit organizations, private entities, and government offices across the United States where they work with U.S. colleagues on initiatives related to civil society issues they face in their own communities.
- Leadership and Civic Engagement Academy: Through the Academy’s blended learning components, fellows will develop and practice leadership skills that are essential for building their individual and collective abilities to lead and address societal challenges.
- Community Engagement Project (CEP): The culmination of the fellows’ program is their actionable project in their home country focused on one of the five CEE themes. Alumni also have the opportunity to apply for a CEP exchange with a practicum host or CEE Specialist that will enable them to travel to their home country to further scale their CEP.
- Continuing Global and Local Networking: CEE is a network of emerging civil society leaders that will continue to grow through Innovation Hubs that engage knowledge sharing and collaboration with a variety of stakeholders.
Each fellow focuses on one of five themes throughout the program:
- Civic dialogue and peacebuilding: Fellows explore models and strategies that support public discourse, civic membership, deliberative participation, and collaboration across diverse communities.
- Open and participatory government: Fellows explore civic education, civic engagement, deliberative participation, open and transparent systems, community organizing and advocacy, civil liberties and human rights, participatory democracy, good governance, anticorruption efforts, ethics, accountability, press freedom, and fair elections.
- Resilience and sustainable development: Fellows focus on how to engage communities to address climate change, water and resource management, food access and security, health, sustainable community-based agriculture, and social entrepreneurship for environmental issues.
- Women and gender: Fellows explore innovative and inclusive models for ensuring that women and individuals marginalized because of their gender are supported, empowered, and included in all aspects of public life.
- Youth engagement: Fellows focus on empowering youth voices, building multigenerational connections, and providing community engagement and volunteer opportunities that help prepare the next generation of active, informed citizens.
The program covers the cost of most expenses associated with:
- J-1 visa support
- Round-trip travel from participants’ home city to the U.S.
- Monthly allowance to cover housing, meals, and other living expenses while in the U.S. and
- Accident and sickness insurance
- Africa: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
- East Asia and the Pacific: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam
- Europe and Eurasia: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, and Ukraine
- Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and West Bank/Palestinian Territories
- South and Central Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
- Western Hemisphere: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay
Competition for the CEE Program is merit-based and open to emerging civil society and community leaders who meet the criteria. Applications that do not meet these eligibility requirements will be disqualified and will not be reviewed by the selection committee.
- You are between the ages of 21-28 at the time of application
- You are a citizen of one of the eligible countries
- You have a minimum of two years of professional or volunteer experience at the time of application
- You are living and working in your home country
- Individuals with refugee status working on behalf of their home community may be given special consideration
- You are working on a community engagement initiative in your home country, either in a professional or volunteer capacity, with a vision to pursue a career working to support civil society
- You have a high level of proficiency in spoken and written English at the time of application
- Semifinalists will be required to take or submit recent scores for a TOEFL or IELTS English language test
- You are available to travel to the U.S. for three months
- You are committed to returning to your home country to complete a Community Engagement Project (CEP)
- You are not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. and have not applied for U.S. permanent residency within the past three years
- You are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa
- Applicants who have participated in an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government must have fulfilled their two-year home residency requirement by the time of application
- You are committed to returning to your home country for a minimum of two years after completing the program and
- You are not a current IREX employee or consultant, or their immediate family member
For more information, visit https://www.irex.org/program/community-engagement-exchange-program-application-information