Community Engagement Exchange (CEE)

A transformational leadership development experience, CEE is a year-long program designed to enable civil society leaders, ages 21-28, to harness the power of networks, relationships, and information for the public good, specifically on issues related to civic dialogue and peacebuilding, open and participatory government, women and gender, resilience and sustainable development, and youth engagement.

Fellowship components include:

  • Three-month U.S.-based practicum: CEE fellows are matched with nonprofit organizations, private entities, and government offices across the United States where they work with U.S. colleagues on initiatives related to civil society issues, they face in their own communities.
  • Leadership and Civic Engagement Academy: Through the Academy’s blended learning components, Fellows will develop and practice leadership skills that are essential for building their individual and collective abilities to lead and address societal challenges.
  • Community Engagement Project (CEP): The culmination of the CEE Fellows’ Program is their actionable project in their home country focused on one of the five CEE themes.  Alumni also have the opportunity to apply for a CEP exchange with a practicum host or Global Leader that will enable them to travel to their home country to further scale their CEP.
  • Community Engagement Project (CEP) Exchange: Select U.S. hosts and Global Leaders will travel to a CEE Alumnus’ country and work collaboratively to support the fellow’s project implementation and bring back what they learn to strengthen communities across the United States or their home country.

Eligibility Requirements

Competition for the CEE Program is merit-based and open to emerging civil society and community leaders who meet the criteria below. Applications that do not meet these eligibility requirements will be disqualified and will not be reviewed by the selection committee.

  • You are between the ages of 21-28 at the time of application
  • You are a citizen of one of the eligible countries listed below
  • You have a minimum of two years of professional or volunteer experience at the time of application
  • You are living and working in your home country
  • Individuals with refugee status working on behalf of their home community may be given special consideration
  • You are working on a community engagement initiative in your home country, either in a professional or volunteer capacity, with a vision to pursue a career working to support civil society
  • You have a high level of proficiency in spoken and written English at the time of application
  • Semifinalists will be required to take or submit recent scores for a TOEFL or IELTS English language test
  • You are available to travel to the U.S. for three months
  • You are committed to returning to your home country to complete a Community Engagement Project (CEP)
  • You are not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. and have not applied for U.S. permanent residency within the past three years
  • You are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa
  • Applicants who have participated in an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government must have fulfilled their two-year home residency requirement by the time of application
  • You are committed to returning to your home country for a minimum of two years after completing the program and
  • You are not a current IREX employee or consultant, or their immediate family member

Financial Support

The program covers the cost of most expenses associated with:

  • J-1 visa support
  • Round-trip travel from participants’ home city to the U.S.
  • Monthly allowance to cover housing, meals, and other living expenses while in the U.S. and
  • Accident and sickness insurance

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 295 KB)

Application Information

The CEE Fellow application will be open from Monday, November 15, 2021 through Friday, January 14, 2022 at 11:59 pm EST.

For more information please visit: https://www.irex.org/project/community-engagement-exchange

Please visit program social media (Facebook @CommunityEngagementExchange or Instagram @CEEProgram) to view helpful application tips and recordings of live Q&A sessions.

To apply please visit:  https://www.irex.org/program/community-engagement-exchange-program-application-information