Posted by: Sarah Standish | December 2, 2011

Make connections with Iraqi students and gain leadership skills through the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program!

If you’d like to gain leadership skills, meet new people, and get to know real Iraqi teenagers, then you should consider applying to the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program.  Students who enter the program will spend four weeks traveling around the US together, including attending a leadership institute in Vermont, staying with host families around the US, and completing a civic education week in Washington, D.C.–all at no cost!

Eligible students will graduate in 2013 or later and must have citizenship and residency in the US.

Applicants will be evaluated on the following characteristics, from the program website:

  • a demonstrated interest in and commitment to volunteer and civic activities;
  • ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and tolerate the opinions of others;
  • leadership potential;
  • good social and communication skills;
  • good academic performance;
  • an energetic, positive attitude; and
  • ability to implement projects that benefit the applicant’s school and/or community.

For more information, go to the program website or read the FAQ.  To apply, click here.  But if you’re interested, start soon–the deadline is December 18th!

From the program website:

In partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Youth Division and the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, World Learning and its U.S. community partners will administer the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). IYLEP is a four week youth leadership exchange based in the U.S. for Iraqi and American teenagers and several Iraqi adults educators. The program aims to develop a cadre of young adults in Iraq and the United States who have a strong sense of civic responsibility, a commitment to community development, an awareness of current and global issues, strong interpersonal leadership skills, willingness to foster relationships among youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups in Iraq, and to promote mutual understanding, respect and collaboration between the United States and Iraq.  Students will begin their program in Brattleboro, VT at the SIT Graduate Institute, spend two weeks with host families across the U.S and conclude the final program segment, a civic education week in Washington, DC, which will allow the students to use Washington as an experiential classroom, integrating what they have learned in the previous month with the sights and experiences within the nation’s capitol.

In the U.S., participants will focus on the program themes through site meetings, experiential learning activities, leadership trainings, civic participation at the community level, mentoring by community, business and NGO leaders, and volunteering with local organizations.  Highlights will include homestays with local families, cultural events and outdoor leadership activities.

Participants will be required to implement follow-on activities upon their return home that will help the participants stay in touch with each other and reflect on their experiences and integrate that learning into their day-to-day lives at home. An important goal of the program is that the student leaders, now empowered, will train other student leaders through student led community oriented service projects.


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