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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Even in Norway, youth fall between the cracks. Exchange participants study how to save them.

After flying from Norway that afternoon, Edvard Eidsvåg (Eddi, for short) was left wide awake on a late night in March. He wandered the streets around his Dupont Circle-area hotel, searching for those many view as the outcasts of society: the drug addicts and the homeless. That night in March, Eddi sought out the very people he claims society tends to ignore. Eddi is Founder and CEO of People Project (or Pøbelprosjektet), a Norwegian organization dedicated to providing opportunities for at-risk youth. He and his colleague Lene Walle, Regional Manager of People Project, arrived in Washington, DC on March...

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Tragedy and opportunity | Reflections from a YLAI fellow

Kheston Walkins is a young entrepreneur from Trinidad and Tobago who was selected to attend the 2016 Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative (YLAI) pilot program by the U.S. Department of State. This presidential initiative supports social and business entrepreneurs from across Latin America and the Caribbean. Here are some of his reflections on his experience attending this prestigious U.S.-based exchange. Tragedy and Opportunity: it is a strange courtship that is as clumsy as a duck’s waddle, yet the two travel abreast almost inseparably. My name is Kheston Walkins, and I am from Trinidad and Tobago. Let me tell...

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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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From Miami to the Mile High City: My YLAI Experience

Alejandro Carbonell is a young entrepreneur from Panama who was selected to attend the 2016 Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative (YLAI) pilot program by the U.S. Department of State. This presidential initiative supports social and business entrepreneurs from across Latin America and the Caribbean. Here are some of his reflections on his experience attending this prestigious U.S.-based exchange. Written March 11, 2016  After a short flight from Panama, and a very long wait in Miami’s Airport, I finally went through the door, looking for some sort of sign that I could recognize of the YLAI program. Instead I saw two...

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