WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — On April 28, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with more than 20 secondary school students and teachers from Bosnia and Herzegovina who are participating in the Youth Leadership Program, an exchange organized by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. During the meeting, Secretary Clinton highlighted the United States’ commitment to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and talked about the important role young people play in shaping the future of their country.

The participants represent the 12th annual delegation of this exchange, which brings Bosnians of different ethnic backgrounds together in the United States for four weeks of leadership training, community service, home stays, and study of civics, debate, and conflict resolution.

During a three-week stay in Salem, Oregon, the students visited Oregon’s courts, joined a local non-governmental organization for a community service project, learned about civic leadership, and lived with American families. The participants, who come from Bijeljina, Orasje, and Bihac, arrived in the United States on April 1, 2011.

In addition to the meeting with Secretary Clinton, the one-week Washington, DC portion of their trip included programs with local American high school students and visits to the U.S. Capitol building and U.S. national landmarks. When the students return to Bosnia and Herzegovina, they will design and implement volunteer projects in their schools. The teachers, who accompanied the students, took part in professional development and mentoring programs.

The Youth Leadership and Program began in Bosnia and Herzegovina twelve years ago and today serves as a model for similar U.S. Department of State-sponsored programs around the world. The program brings together socially committed student leaders from different parts of the country to visit the United States for four weeks of leadership training, community service, home stays, and study on civics, debate and conflict resolution. Since its launch, 240 students and teachers from around Bosnia and Herzegovina have participated in the program.