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Young Americans was thrilled to host participants from the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program and lead them in an entrepreneurial workshop. The mission of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program is to strengthen and expand the community of engaged global citizens and organizations in Colorado and provide them with opportunities to activate their interest in citizen diplomacy through education, cross-cultural exchange, and personal interaction with international dignitaries and professionals. The participants came from all 18 provinces in Iraq and were competitively selected for their leadership potential and involvement in their communities. The group included students from both public and private schools, urban and rural communities, all religions, ethnicities, and genders. Young Americans has partnered with this group in the past to host adult leaders and entrepreneurs, but this was our first opportunity to welcome their youth into our programs.
The Iraqi Youth Delegation traveled a long way to participate in the two-week World Denver exchange program, and they visited nonprofit organizations throughout Denver. When the group of 11 young men and women visited Young Americans on Tuesday, they participated in a workshop designed to help them understand the logistics, challenges, and benefits of entrepreneurship. The students, their mentors, and hosts from the Youth Leadership Exchange Program first did an exercise on business accounting and budget management. Next, we challenged the group to think entrepreneurially, create their own business ideas about how to improve education in their home schools, and then pitch these ideas to their peers and mentors. One pair of students pitched custom tablets that not only provided technological advantages and a relief from carrying heavy books, but they also included fun colors and with functional covers. A few of the groups approached the assignment by creating physical spaces that mirrored co-working spaces and with educational resources and classes in specific areas of interest. Every participant approached the problem with creativity and insight, which was incredible to watch.
Thanks to Gergana Kostadinova and World Denver! We look forward to working with you again soon!
Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program works to support the goals of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen the connections between the people of the United States and Iraq. The program aims to develop a cadre of young adults in Iraq and the United States who have a strong sense of civic responsibility, a commitment to community development, an awareness of current and global issues, strong interpersonal leadership skills, and a willingness to foster relationships among youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups in Iraq. The group was sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The classes were administered by World Learning in partnership with WorldDenver.