Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI)

2023 YLAI Fellowship Program Application

The YLAI Fellowship program is an exchange program for entrepreneurs, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. YLAI brings 280 promising leaders from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada each year to the United States to expand their leadership and entrepreneurial skills and network through skills-building workshops and opportunities to learn from and exchange with U.S. counterparts.

The YLAI Fellowship Program will launch in August 2022 with pre-arrival virtual programming. If it is safe to do so, YLAI Fellows will travel to the US during January and February 2023 to complete their professional placements with a U.S. Host Organization. The Fellowship will conclude with a Closing Forum held in Washington DC where all Fellows will gather to learn, network, and celebrate their accomplishments. The in-person U.S. component is five weeks long and consists of a four-week professional placement and one week at Closing Forum.

Who is eligible to apply?

• Are between the ages of 25 and 35 by January 1, 2023.  To be eligible for the YLAI Fellowship, you must be at least 25 on January 1, 2023, and you must be no older than 35 on January 1, 2023.
• Are a current resident and citizen of one of the participating countries*: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. *In the specific cases of residency in Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, citizenship in the Netherlands is accepted. Citizens of Venezuela may be residents of another eligible country.
• Are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa.
• Have a demonstrated track record of successfully growing their own business or social venture for at least two (2) years.
• Are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
• Are not a U.S. government employee.
• Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.
• Are available to travel to the United States during January – February 2023.

How do I apply to the 2023 YLAI Fellowship Program?

Please visit to complete the application. Applications must be submitted online at by December 1, 2021 at 11:00amEST. Applications that are mailed, faxed or emailed to IREX will not be accepted.

Application opens: October 27, 2021

Application deadline: December 1, 2021