In late 2010, the former President of the Kyrgyz Republic Roza Otunbaeva called on young citizens with international education experience to join the government and take a more active role in the political process. In response to her call, the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek and American Councils for International Education created the FLEX "Exchanges to Internships" program to encourage talented and enthusiastic FLEX alumni to explore careers in the public service.
Completed July 2011, the first year of the Kyrgyzstan "FLEX Exchanges to Internships" program was considered a resounding success by both the interns and participating government officials. Many of the students commented on how much they matured and grew professionally throughout the process. Others spoke of a newfound respect for government officials and the importance of public service. Reflecting on her internship experience, one participant recounted, "My department taught me to evaluate a situation from different sides and be positive towards people who work in the public sector. There are public servants who wish for a bright future for Kyrgyzstan, who are really working to make a difference."
Administered by American Councils for International Education, the FLEX program sends secondary school students from ten Eurasian countries, including Kyrgyzstan, to study in U.S. high schools for one academic year. After engaging in and learning about improving their host communities, FLEX participants return home with a commitment to improving their own communities and countries.
Click here for more information on the FLEX program.