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Leaders in the Making
From May 6-12 2012, the French-American Foundation launched its Leaders in the Making program. This program extends the mission of the long-standing Young Leaders program to high school age students. For the program’s first year, and in coordination with our sister Foundation in Paris, seventeen, 15-year-old students spent a week in New York City to meet American students and gain a unique international perspective. The majority of the French students are part of a recent "magnet school" initiative in France that promotes educational opportunity for students from families with limited means.
The exchange is an opportunity for the students not just to improve their competency in English but also to develop a greater understanding of American history, literature and society. To this end, the Foundation partnered with the Spence School, Browning School, Urban Assembly and the Inter-School Leadership Fellows to give the visiting French students significant time to meet and interact with New York high school students of the same age. Taking the discussions outside of the classroom, the French students also participated in an ongoing community service project with their American peers and visited historic New York landmarks, such as Ellis Island and the 9/11 Memorial.
Leadership development was also an important component of the program: the students met with local leaders (many drawn from the Foundation’s Young Leaders alumni) to inspire them to reflect on their own potential and to learn about possible career paths. Among their many activities, students spent a morning at The New York Times and visited the trading floor at the opening of the New York Stock Exchange.