Community Engagement Exchange Program Application Information

Community Engagement Exchange Program Application Information

A group of young people raising their hands

The Community Engagement Exchange (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 20-27, 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. 

Fellowship components include:

  • Three-month Fellowship in the United States: IREX matches CEE fellows to civil society organizations throughout the United States. Designated supervisors and peers support the fellows through a three-month, hands-on professional fellowship.
  • Leadership and Civic Engagement Academy: CEE Fellows explore the program themes through interactive curriculum that includes service learning, face-to-face trainings, mentorship, professional coaching, and inclusion in a global network.
  • Community Engagement Project (CEP): With the help of their U.S. host organization and mentors, CEE fellows design and plan a community engagement project to carry out after they return home. Once the fellows depart the U.S., they put these projects into action in their home communities.
  • Community Engagement Project (CEP) Exchange: Select U.S. hosts and Global Leaders will travel to a CEE Alumnus’ country and work collaboratively to support the fellow’s project implementation and bring back what they learn to strengthen communities across the United States or their home country. 

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Application Instructions

Please review the program requirements prior to starting an application to ensure that you are eligible. Please note that eligibility requirements are determined by the US Department of State and exceptions cannot be made. If, after reviewing the application instructions, you have additional questions, please e-mail Apply.CEE@irex.org.

Application Resources

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 20 and 27 as of November 1, 2020
  • You are a citizen of one of the eligible countries listed below
  • 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 from October 2021 to January 2022
  • 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 October 1, 2021.
  • 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

Eligible countries by region

Africa: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, 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, 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, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay