Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI)

Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellowship Applications Now Open

*Please note that if the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that safe travel is not possible at the time of the YLAI Fellowship, this program will be conducted virtually.*

The U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that applications for the 2021 cohort of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Program are now open.  YLAI is the State Department’s premier social and economic development exchange program for young people in the Americas and Caribbean.  Please visit for further updates and application information.

The U.S. State Department has increased the number of Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellows for the 2021 cohort from 250 to 280 for the hemisphere.

The YLAI Professional Fellowship has brought over 750 business and social entrepreneurs from 36 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States to collaborate with American counterparts in businesses across the country.  Through this exchange program, Fellows expand their entrepreneurial ventures by building leadership skills and their networks to advance social and economic development in their communities.  After the fellowship concludes in the United States, representatives from approximately 70 U.S. host institutions visit or organize virtual exchanges with Fellows to assist them in implementation of the ideas and initiatives developed during the program.  YLAI also underscores the crucial role of small businesses at home and abroad, and supports the efforts of young innovators throughout the region.

The yearly YLAI Professional Fellowship is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is complemented by the 40,000-member strong online YLAI Network and activities organized by U.S. embassies and consulates to promote entrepreneurship throughout the hemisphere.  The international nonprofit organization IREX will implement the program.

The application period is currently open through to February 25 2021