Diplomacy today, diplomacy tomorrow

The following blog post is a three-part series adapted from Ambassador Yovanovitch’s Trainor Award lecture, delivered in Gaston Hall at Georgetown University in February 2020 and originally published on the Medium. In the series of blog, she reflects on her career in the Foreign Service, the state of diplomacy today, and the U.S. role in the world. PART 1: The power of example I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself and why I decided to become a diplomat. Because it was pretty unlikely, but all American stories are unlikely. That is the beauty of America. I grew...


America’s Systemic Racism Demands a Systemic Response.

Originally published on Medium, this piece was written by Frank Islam and Ed Crego. Frank is an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. Ed Crego is a management consultant. Both are leaders of the 21st-century citizenship movement. Frank has a special commitment to civic, educational, and artistic causes and is a member of Meridian’s Cultural Diplomacy Leadership Council.  “Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance...


Student Exchange for Global Change

The U.S.-Pakistan Global Leadership and STEM Program brought ten innovative young women from across the globe to explore what is out there and waiting for them. By excelling in academia, the students from the Army Public Schools and Colleges of Pakistan had the opportunity not just to explore, but to question and to learn about culture, science, and methods around the world. I can’t believe it’s been one week since the end of the 2016 U.S.-Pakistan Global Leadership and STEM Program. This seventeen day program made me more conscious about the way I could have a career in the...


Global Leader Feature: George P. Shultz

“Terrorism is a contagious disease that will, inevitably spread if it goes untreated.” – George P. Shultz

Last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Former Secretary of State George Shultz joined other former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright in outlining the challenges facing U.S. national security policy. His testimony highlights the kind of strategic thinking and cogent argumentation that make Secretary Shultz such an effective leader.

IYLEP High School Alumni Inspire Youth Volunteerism in Baghdad

Written by Abdulaziz A.

Alumni of the 2013 Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) reconnected this past February in Erbil. Alums from both the High School and Undergraduate programs gathered to reflect on their experiences and participate in workshops and panel discussions that built upon the skills students developed last summer in the United States. Meridian invited IYLEP alumni to submit a blog post describing their personal experience and growth with the program. We selected the winning entries to post on The LEAD. Abdulaziz was selected as one of the winners for the IYLEP High School group.

When Khalid, Maryam and I returned to Baghdad after the 2013 Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) in the United States, we decided to start a project to help poor people in Baghdad. We looked for students in our schools that had the same interests.  We were really surprised to get support from a lot of the students. We collected used clothes and contributions from neighbors, friends and family in a 2-week period. We chose a neighborhood where poverty is really high. In order to distribute the goods, we had to get permission from the police and be escorted. Unfortunately, distribution points, where many people gather to receive charity, are often the targets of terrorist groups.  The police were not helpful, but one of our cousins recommended we approach the Iraqi army.  The army wants to build up and encourage more civic action, so we made a search for the areas in Baghdad that are under control of the army.  We found really poor families living in houses made of mud.