I was in Dire Dawa and Harar last week with Cherokee Education Program (CEP). Briana Harper, Biniyam Assefa and I introduced CEP to school administrators in both towns. Students will be recruited from high schools in Addis Ababa, DireDawa and Harar for CEP class of 2009/10. The recruitment process will begin in early February, but students will not depart for the United States until the beginning of August.
Cherokee Education Program provides an opportunity for the top Ethiopian students in the 11th grade to experience the United States for one year. The students are placed with a host family who, often times with the help of their local community, covers all costs associated with hosting a student for a year. The focus of the program is to provide the future leaders of Ethiopia an experience which broadens their world view and more fully develops their leadership skills. Moreover, the students are required to return back to Ethiopia to finish their senior year of high school. Throughout their senior year, CEP provides students with a local mentor who guides them as they decide where to apply to college – likely in Ethiopia and the US, and also advises them on careers they may want to pursue.
CEP - as it is currently structured – is in its third year of operation. In the last two years of the program we have witnessed a great increase in confidence, English skills, and leadership among CEP alum. As well, the students have done a remarkable job academically with many of them scoring A’s in a schedule full of AP classes. The first year’s class - CEP class of 2007/08, totaled nine students; this years class - CEP class of 2008/09, totaled 20 students; for the coming year’s class - CEP class of 2009/10, we hope to find enough host families to place 30-45 students.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
For more information on CEP or hosting a student visit: http://www.cherokeexchangeprogram.org
Some pictures from the trip have been posted to Lamp Post Photos – please see the link at the right if you are interested.