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2017 Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program – Youth Activism in Civil Society

August 13 - August 27

The U.S. Department of State, World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, and World Learning once again present the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program!

Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program: Louisville, Kentucky

Exchange Dates: August 3 – September 3, 2017

Host Community Dates: August 13 – 27, 2017

Participant Numbers: 12 – 13 Iraqi students / 1-2 Iraqi Adult Mentor(s)


The goals of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program are to:

  • promote mutual understanding, respect, and collaboration between the people of the United States and Iraq;
  • develop a cadre of young adults in Iraq who have a strong sense of civic responsibility, a commitment to community development, awareness of current and global issues, and strong interpersonal leadership skills;
  • foster relationships among youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups in Iraq;
  • include significant interaction with American peers and/or families; and
  • prepare youth leaders to become responsible citizens and contributing members of their communities.

In addition to the primary goals mentioned above, each program will also have one of following three sub themes:

  • Peacebuilding, Dialogue, and Reconciliation
    • Topics may include: political reconciliation, dialogue among diverse groups, interfaith dialogue, innovative peacebuilding methods, bipartisanship, pluralism, conflict transformation, conflicts within school settings, teen courts.
  • Youth Activism and Countering Violent Extremism
    • Topics may include: youth mentorship, gangs and drugs, youth councils, community centers and interventions, education initiatives, youth employment, sports, LGBTQ support centers, race and identity.

The programs has a three segment structure. During the first segment in Vermont, students will focus on large program themes and concepts, teambuilding, leadership skills, cross cultural communication, and program educational expectations.

The second segment, for which Host Communities will be responsible, will provide opportunities for students to practice their leadership and cross cultural communication skills, and experience program themes. This should be achieved through site-visits, practical hands-on training and skills building sessions, home stay placements, volunteer opportunities, and cultural activities.

During this period, the participant objectives are as follows:

  1. Participants will develop and model leadership, problem solving, public speaking, organizing, and critical thinking skills through hands-on experience
  2. Participants will strengthen understandings of civic engagement, the subtheme, and the role of various actors in society (local government, NGO’s, businesses, citizens)
  3. Participants will further expand their tolerance and empathy for diverse cultures and perspectives, strengthen their cross-cultural skills, and extend their comfort zone
  4. Participants will develop strong relationships with host families, youth in the host communities, and within the cohort
  5. Participants will be exposed to “real life” in the U.S. and further break down stereotypes

The final segment of each exchange takes place in Washington, DC and will focus on synthesizing the initial program segments and developing community project plans that the students will implement when they return home.

Please contact the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana if you would like to volunteer as a host family for one of these amazing young students!

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World Affairs Council of KY/S.IN


World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana
2500 Montgomery Street, Suite 6
Louisville, KY 40212 United States
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