Community Engagement Exchange (CEE) for Young Changemakers

Are you a leader in your community interested in connecting with other young changemakers in the United States and around the globe? If so – apply for the Community Engagement Exchange (CEE) Program and join a global ecosystem of civil society leaders! 

The Community Engagement Exchange Program is a transformational year-long leadership development program designed to enable civil society leaders, ages 21-28 from communities in over 100 countries 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. 

Application period is open: October 26, 2022 – November 30, 2022  

What is CEE – Community Engagement Exchange Program?

The Community Engagement Exchange 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. 

Program Activities

  • 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. 


Program Themes

Each fellow focuses on one of five themes throughout the program: 

  • Civic dialogue and peacebuilding 
  • Open and participatory government
  • Resilience and sustainable development 
  • Women and gender 
  • Youth engagement 


Eligibility Requirements

Competition for the CEE Program is merit-based and open to emerging civil society and community leaders who meet the criteria below. 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 listed here 
  • 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 

Financial Support

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 


Apply here by November 30, 2022:  

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