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Founded in 1968, IREX is an international nonprofit organization providing leadership and innovative programs to improve the quality of education, strengthen independent media, and foster pluralistic civil society development. IREX develops education programs and provides consulting that support lifelong learning. All programs focus on primary and secondary levels, through higher education, and continuing into professional training. One of its most popular programs is UGRAD.
Eurasian Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD) – it is the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia and Central Asia. UGRAD program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State. The Program was founded in 1992, by the US Congress, the program was originally called the FREEDOM Support Act Undergraduate Program and was later renamed the Eurasian Undergraduate Exchange Program. Since its establishment, nearly 4000 participants have completed the program. The program deadlines are usually 6 month before the program start date.
UGRAD program implements following tasks:
- Encourags youth leadership: Global UGRAD contributes to the development of youth leadership by providing opportunity for Eurasian students to gain increased knowledge and skills through study and practical training and to build bilateral networking relationships.
- Promotes community service in the United States and Eurasia: Global UGRAD emphasizes community service by requiring all participants to perform 20 hours of volunteer work in their host communities. Many of the Global UGRAD participants take this experience home to Eurasia and continue their volunteer work in their own countries.
- Supports practical experience for professional development: The Gloabl UGRAD program promotes professional development through part-time internships in the spring semester. Participants receive hands-on experience, using the latest tools and technology to develop their skills and further their knowledge of their chosen field.
Countries-participants: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan
Fields of study for the UGRAD Program are: Accounting, Agriculture, Anthropology, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, Engineering, Environmental Management, Geology, Hospitality Management, International Relations, Journalism and Mass Communication, Law, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Urban Planning, U.S. Studies, other fields will be considered.