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Meet Some Iraqi Exchange Students Who Want To Change The World

Listen to the WFPL radio spot.

Thirteen exchange students from Iraq are in Louisville this week. The teenagers are part of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. While they’re here, the students visit education institutions and attend workshops on youth activism.

They’ll go back to Iraq and work on a community project around an issue they’re passionate about.

I caught up with the students on their break at the Big Four Bridge. I talked to them about their projects, what they do for fun at home, and about misconceptions some may have about their country. Listen to what they had to say in the player above.

Roxanne Scott | wfpl.org
Ali Al_Behadili

“My project is about designing a dialogue group to inspire others about being more open-minded and celebrate the diversity. Because Iraq is so diverse. We have people from different backgrounds, different languages, different religions.” —Ali Al-Behadili, 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roxanne Scott | wfpl.org
Zainab Al-Hilfi

“Just to be honest I want to be a pilot. But my mother said no so I have to be a doctor. I don’t have an opinion about my life. It’s all about your parents, the community. And I will work on that, actually. Like, through doing some dialogue groups.” —Zainab Al-Hilfi, 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roxanne Scott | wfpl.org
Awab Abdulhadi Majid

“Here’s the thing: not all Iraqis are Arabs. Not all Arabs are Muslims. And not all Muslims are terrorists.” —Awab Abdulhadi Majid, 15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article, written by Roxanne Scott, was reposted from WFPL News.

Protect Exchanges – Support Diplomacy

Dear WAC Friends:

International exchange programs have always received bi-partisan support in Congress. However, the White House’s newly released FY2018 budget calls for an unprecedented cut of 28 percent to the Department of State. While we don’t know by what amount, it is clear that the administration will soon propose steep cuts to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). If enacted into law, these cuts would greatly harm our nation’s public diplomacy efforts and, ultimately, our national security and economy.

As a nonpartisan organization, the World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana was founded on international exchanges over 30 years ago. We believe that by offering our communities an opportunity to interact with people from around the world, each of us can play an integral part in promoting peace and mutual understanding. Over these three decades, we have hosted thousands of delegates from every corner of the globe, connecting them with countless organizations, businesses and people in the region, from Louisville to Hazard to Bowling Green to Paducah, as well as Southern Indiana, and the many towns in between. The proposed cut would directly affect our mission and the services that we provide to our community and the region.

We need your support now more than ever. Congressman Hank Johnson is collecting signatures on a letter to the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations in support of exchange program funding. This letter calls for the highest possible funding level for exchange programs in FY2018. The deadline for members of Congress to join the “Dear Colleague” letter is Wednesday, March 22.

The Alliance for International Exchange has organized a letter-writing campaign that makes it very easy for you to write your representative. Click here to access a pre-written letter that you can customize if you would like. It only takes a minute or two to send this letter to your representative in Congress.

http://cqrcengage.com/alliance-exchange/app/write-a-letter…

Adding your voice to this effort will truly make a difference. Thank you for taking action today.

Sincerely,

Xiao Yin Zhao

Executive Director
World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana