Meridians’ role in bridging the gap between gender roles in Iraq and facilitating positive change

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) recruits the brightest and most forward thinking minds in the country who come to the United States to expand and develop their leadership and cultural diversity skills. IYLEP, a State Department funded program, facilitated by Meridian International Center brought 100 participants, selected from over 2,000 applicants this year, to the U.S. to learn and experience student life at various universities around the country. The program also entails valuable workshops during the opening conference in New York City and during the closing conference in Washington, D.C. The IYLEP participants are consistently presented with...

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IYLEP Alumnus Promotes Peace through Debate

Yousuf Al-Rawi, a fifth year medical student at the University of Baghdad and an alumnus of the 2013 Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) , is already putting the skills he developed into practice by working with his colleagues to make a difference in his home country. In his early years of undergraduate study, Al-Rawi learned of IYLEP through his university and was drawn to apply by the chance to experience American culture firsthand while being exposed to new ideas that could be applied in Iraq. Upon becoming a finalist and participating in IYLEP 2013, he took full advantage of this opportunity. Al-Rawi...

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Community Development in Iraq through Volunteerism

By Ameer Sabri, Manager of Volunteers of Duhok University (VDU) Alumnus IYLEP 2015 Volunteers of Duhok University (VDU) is an initiative launched by a group of students from the University of Duhok – a fast-growing institution in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Established in March 2015, the idea of setting up a youth center was pitched by a student, Saeed Qasim, and his mates, Zeena, Pekhatin, Karzan, Matty, Khosh, Iman, Yoshia, Khalid, Shihab, Ahmed, and Iman Na’man to create and spread the culture of volunteerism among students. First of all, the VDU team developed a registration form for membership...

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Bringing Peace back to the “City of Peace”

“Activism is action to bring about change in society. It can be trying to make a government change its laws, or trying to make people change what they do.”- Thamer Alyas Once upon a time, Baghdad was known as the City of Peace. After years of conflict throughout Iraq it is fair to say Baghdad is rarely looked at as a symbol of peace any more, but what people don’t understand is that peace is still very present in this city and all over Iraq. Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) is a highly competitive program sponsored by the...

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Applications for Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program for Undergraduate Students Have Opened

This past week, I was fortunate enough to be present for the launch of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program for Undergraduate Students (IYLEP) 2016 application. While we knew students were waiting for the chance to apply, the results were astonishing. Once the application was released, applications began to arrive almost immediately. Over 250 applications were started within the first 24 hours, and that number has steadily increased.  Currently, nearly 3,000 applications have been created and several thousand more are expected by the application period’s closing on December 1, 2015. Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program for Undergraduate Students is implemented by...

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