Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Programs 2014 in Chicago, Boston and Milwaukee

Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Programs 2014 in Chicago, Boston and Milwaukee

October 9, 2014 Uncategorized 0

This summer GYLI hosted 3 Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Programs (IYLEP) in partnership with World Learning and funded by the U.S. Department of State, in the cities of Chicago, Boston and Milwaukee. Over thirty families graciously opened their homes to host these students and adult mentors, fostering positive relationships and cultural understanding between our countries.

With the current situation in Iraq, there was particular interest from the public in this year’s programming. Participants were, and still are, directly affected by the violence and conflict in this region of the world – being Sunni and Shia Muslim, as well as Christian. DSC_0229The program gave students a safe space to discuss the current situation in their country and to develop ideas and actions plans to making real changes in their own schools and communities. Students in each city participated in a public forum, where host families and other members of the community were invited to come learn about the student’s culture, lives and interests as well as to dialogue about the current situation.


A Christian and a Muslim visiting a Mosque together.

One highlight from this summer’s program was the interfaith discussions and visits to places of worship for the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Many of the participants experienced visiting a Church, Synagogue, or a Mosque for the first time in their lives and had a space to learn, share, and ask questions about one another’s beliefs in a way that would not be possible in Iraq.