The Office of International Programs (OIP) at Wayne State University will host 93 Iraqi students beginning July 10 as part of the Iraq Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) for Undergraduates, a four-week summer exchange sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and implemented by World Learning.
IYLEP brings English-speaking Iraqi students to the U.S. to learn about leadership development, civic rights and responsibilities, respect for diversity, and community engagement. Wayne State was selected by World Learning to host the orientation for the monthlong IYLEP program, providing participants with their first glimpse of America and university life.
OIP is proud to host the program, according to Ahmad Ezzeddine, associate vice president for OIP and educational outreach.
“Being selected by World Learning to host the orientation portion of the IYLEP program for the second year in a row demonstrates that Wayne State University, in addition to its quality programs, continues to be a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for international students,” Ezzeddine says.
“It’s important that the Iraqi students start their journey in Detroit because they will learn about real-life America in a city that is experiencing a great comeback. The diversity in the city — including the presence of large populations with roots in the Middle East — also makes metro Detroit a perfect place for these students to have their orientation.”
After four days at Wayne State, the students will be divided into smaller groups based on academic areas of interest and move on to California State University at San Marcos, the University of Arkansas, the University of Texas at Austin or Washington State University.
Students were selected for this highly competitive national program after a rigorous application and review process. The group includes Sunni, Shia, Turkmen, Assyrian, Yazidi and Kurdish Iraqi university students who do not know one another, with one goal of the program being to foster understanding and relationships between people of different ethnic and religious groups. The students are encouraged to implement a community engagement plan when they return home to Iraq.
During orientation at Wayne State, IYLEP students will learn about U.S. culture, networking, social media activism and public speaking, while getting to know one another and touring campus, touring Detroit, participating in specialized workshops, and other activities including visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts and a private event at the Arab American National Museum.
IYLEP participants will interact with WSU students and meet with leaders from numerous student organizations while on campus.
“Wayne State students come from 70 countries and diversity is one of our strengths,” Ezzeddine says. “We are committed to providing an educational experience with open dialogue, where students can learn and become well-prepared to live and work in a global, peaceful society.”
The Office of International Programs leads Wayne State’s global engagement by creating opportunities that foster international education and research, facilitate the exchange of individuals and ideas that promote global competencies and citizenship, and provide resources that support the expansion of the university’s global agenda.