“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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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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Entrepreneurship: A Means for Global Change, Access, and Security

Entrepreneurship has been hard to define. Today, the word suggests choice, diversity, and opportunity. It is used to describe the common thread between the greatest business leaders, inventors, and movers and shakers of the century. In the past, it has been associated with the spirit and will of capital gain and greed. It was also understood as the doctrine of the business-savvy, powerful, and the well-connected. While the image of entrepreneurship has often appeared to be a tall, western man in a business suit –today’s entrepreneurs represent a collective community of people of many genders, ages, races, classes, and...

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Checking In With The U.S. – Pakistan Global Leadership and STEM Program

The U.S. – Pakistan Global Leadership and STEM Program is an exchange program that engages ten female Pakistani students in a variety of leadership building and STEM-focused educational activities. During their stay, students participated in an immersive nanotechnology curriculum at SUNY Polytechnic institute. When I arrived at the 4H Center a little over a week ago, I was greeted by a room full of exuberant smiles. Ten Pakistani girls, having just touched down from their respective hometowns the night before, were clustered at the long tables pulled together in the meeting room. They literally sparkled, clothed in traditional shalwar...

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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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