Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program Continues People-to-People Connections Between the United States and Iraq

Washington, DC - This week, 26 Iraqi high school students and their mentors are in Washington, D.C., to conclude a four-week exchange program in the United States on civic education, leadership development, respect for diversity, and community engagement.

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) is one of the many exchange programs the State Department administers each year to strengthen people-to people relationships between Iraqis and Americans. The students on the IYLEP were introduced to new skills and networks through participation in community service activities and leadership workshops, interactions with U.S. students, and site visits to civic, youth, and governmental organizations.

Throughout the four-week program, the Iraqi youth participants were accompanied by ten U.S. high school students and four Iraqi adult mentors. Upon their return home, the Iraqi students will implement civic action plans developed throughout their time in the United States.

Host communities for the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program included Portland, Oregon; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The exchange concludes in Washington, D.C., with a four-day civic education workshop. White House and State Department officials are meeting with the group to highlight the importance of cross-cultural exchange as a means to empower youth, particularly in volatile and rapidly-changing places such as Iraq.

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