“The Let Girls Learn U.S. Exchange Program” by Bochra Laghssais, A Moroccan Participant

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama invited 22 Moroccan girls and 22 Liberian girls to the White House for the premiere of the CNN documentary We Will Rise on October 11, the International Day of the Girl. I was one of the Moroccan girls invited to Washington D.C. as part of First Lady Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative. The White House visit was a follow-up to First Lady Obama’s visit to Liberia and Morocco in June 2016, during which we Moroccan girls participated in a roundtable discussion on the challenges young girls face in order to continue...

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Expanding the Impact of Women Entrepreneurs in Africa

Each year U.S. missions nominate leading women entrepreneurs from sub-Saharan Africa to participate in the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). AWEP was launched in 2010 to bolster the economic impact on women entrepreneurs during the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. This post was written by Elizabeth Barry and Mark Rebstock. Continue  

Refugee Resettlement and Integration: An IVLP for Portugal

After her husband was captured by a militant group, Hala faced the impossible choice of staying in war-torn Aleppo or seeking asylum in Europe for herself and her four children. Fleeing to Europe would mean leaving behind her mother and brother, her home, her job as an engineer—Hala would have to abandon a life she had built over 40 years. A PBS documentary followed Hala and her children through Europe as they became part of a group of more than 65 million forcibly displaced persons around the world. Continue  

From Behind The Desk To Changing Lives

Studying abroad is an adventure, and like all adventures, it has critical moments. As I undertook the journey I felt excited but also unsure of what to expect. My adventure began a little more than four months ago when I arrived in Washington, DC, with two suitcases, a study plan, a desire to find an internship and a fixed objective of widening my personal, cultural and professional perspectives. While pursuing my Bachelor’s in International Relations in La Universidad De Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, I grew increasingly motivated to deepen my knowledge through work experience, and to become a...

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If There’s A Will, There’s A Way

Renowned philosopher Confucius once said “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Perseverance will get you somewhere, and sometimes, it ends up being a better place than you originally envisioned. One of the purposes of professional exchange programs is to motivate participants to realize their potential and to give them opportunities to connect with new people and understand the advantages of social entrepreneurship through exchange of ideas and experiences. This gives them the tool set to persevere through the challenges Confucius referred to so long ago. Professional Exchange Program alumnus Moreblessing...

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