Young Iraqis Reconnect in Erbil

Opening Remarks


Marhaba from Iraq!  Meridian staff is on the road again, this time in Erbil located in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.  It is claimed that Erbil is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the World.

Meridian is implementing a two 2-day leadership programs with alumni from the Iraq Youth Leadership Exchange Program (IYLEP).  The first, focused on reuniting participants from the high school program will take place February 5-8, and the second, reconnecting participants from the university program will take place February 12-15.

The IYLEP Seminars will reconnect students with the IYLEP network, provide forums for discussion to exchange stories – challenges and successes – of community engagement since returning home, and build on the skills students developed during their U.S. exchange program that will motivate them to become more effective change-makers in their communities.

During the high school program participants will engage in a success stories panel, a follow-on action planning workshop and a dialogue circle focused on developing a personal vision.  In addition to these workshops, Meridian has partnered with the Iraq Foundation to provide training on Community Engagement and preparation for college essay writing and application completion.

To close the workshop, the IYLEP high school alumni will create a Pledge for the Future.  The “I Pledge” exercise will allow students to announce a concrete commitment to their community and their IYLEP peers over the next five years.

Finally, participants have had many opportunities to engage in cultural activities throughout Erbil, including a visit to the Citadel of Erbil and Mudhafaria Minaret.   

It is truly inspirational to see how the participants have learned from and are implementing the skills and ideas that they learned while on their U.S. program.

Check back soon for posts from our IYLEPers about the amazing community engagement projects they have implemented.

Ma’a Salama for now!