STRENGTHENING COMMUNITIES TO DRIVE POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE
Participants on the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program build leadership skills at SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont.
Young people around the world are growing up in a challenging time. They face many difficulties as the result of globalization, economic troubles, ongoing conflict, and other issues. In order to address these and other problems, young
people need guidance and opportunities to build knowledge and skills. Youth exchanges create globally empowered and locally active young people. They help youth to understand their world, develop leadership and civic responsibility, build lasting friendships across cultures, and cultivate the skills and motivation to make a difference in their communities.
Approach World Learning administers youth exchange programs to foster greater understanding and respect between the youth of the United States and other countries. Our dynamic, experiential curriculum focuses on leadership, global issues, peacebuilding, dialogue, activism, civics, and volunteerism. Both short- and long-term programs are available. Youth are accompanied by adult mentors on short-term programs, which are one- to five-weeks long and based in the US or other countries. Long-term programs last for one academic year and are based in the US. Our youth exchange programs have created an effective model that helps participants gain a stronger sense of civic responsibility; establish relationships with others of different ethnic, religious, and national groups; and develop
World Learning is a nonprofit organization that advances leadership through education, exchange, and development programs in more than 60 countries.
the skills and knowledge to transform their communities and countries.
“ I learned that I still have to do a lot of things in my country, be more socially engaged and participate more in volunteer work; most impor-
Our youth exchanges do not end when partici-
tant are the new ideas, because this gives us a
pants return home. Many participants go on to
strong way to change our country; that we could
design and deliver action projects in their home
improve our leadership skills and this program
communities, creating a multiplier effect as youth
made me stronger; people are the same all
engage peers and friends. This extends the
around the world.”
program’s impact into the local community and
- Youth Ambassadors Program with Brazil
often inspires additional projects. World Learning’s
Youth Program staff also continue to support participants post-program via the Internet and with in-country reunions.
Success Story Volunteers 4 Kids in Sulaymania While on the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange
Program, students gain an appreciation for
“ Before my participation in this program I would
teamwork and for the growing role of social
never think that I can lead or give a good idea,
networking in organizing people to make
and that’s because I did not know myself and my
change. Many alumni have started their own
potential, but this program helped me explore who
online groups to promote volunteerism and
I am, and I am a leader.”
- Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program participant
Kids, which has been active in demonstrating the
“ THIS PROGRAM HELPED ME EXPLORE WHO I AM, AND I AM A LEADER.” “ I am learning to be a leader. Because I’ve learned to be confident, teamwork, to dialogue and give a speech, to be an agent of change, and to get people involved in social causes.” - Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action) exchange participant
importance that involvement can have upon one’s community. The alumni have visited elementary schools to teach students about environmental awareness and English, plant trees, and create art murals in order to create better school environments. Their desire to give back to the community is a direct result of recognizing needs in their society and acting to positively address them.
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In Sulaymania, one such group is Volunteers 4
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