Department of State Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program in the USA (PAYLP) 2018


Meridian implements the U.S. Department of State’s Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP). This dynamic youth leadership program brings together students from across Africa with adult mentors for a three week U.S.-based training and cultural exchange. The program strengthens the students’ understanding of civic rights and responsibilities, respect for diversity, and the importance of community engagement. Also included in the PAYLP design is a series of workshops on social entrepreneurship and two weeks of living with American host families.


  • Youth participants should be high school students aged between 15 to 18 years at the start of the exchange who have demonstrated leadership potential through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.

  • Each exchange delegation will also include adult participants who are teachers, trainers or community leaders who work with youth. They will fill the roles of exchange participant, chaperone, and post-exchange mentor.

  • All Candidates should have sufficient proficiency in English to allow them to participate in an academic program.

Student candidates:

  • be a high school student who is 15, 16, 17, or 18 years of age by the start of the exchange

  • be proficient in English

  • attend at least one semester of high school in his/her home country following completion of the program;

  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States

  • demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in his/her school or community

  • have a high level of academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations

  • demonstrate a commitment to community service and extracurricular activities

  • have had little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home country

  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful and inquisitive; and

  • be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive program, community service, and active educational travel program during the exchange, as well as in follow-on activities afterward in their home countries.