About the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program


The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) for undergraduate and high school students is a program sponsored and funded by the US Embassy, Baghdad and U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Youth Programs Division. The IYLEP undergraduate and high school programs together have provided invaluable leadership and educational opportunities for approximately 800 students since its creation. An investment in global understanding and peace, these programs have created a cadre of future leaders of Iraq; young people who will inspire and impact others.

Students at World Learning's campus in Brattleboro, Vermont.

IYLEP for high school studentsis a four week youth leadership exchange based in the U.S. for Iraqi and American teenagers ages 15-17 and several Iraqi adults. 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 & global issues, strong interpersonal leadership skills, willingness to foster relationships among youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups in Iraq, and to promote mutual understanding, respect and collaboration between the United States and Iraq.

A mix of Iraqi and American high school students participate in a lively class together.

Students will begin their program in Brattleboro, VT at the SIT Graduate Institute, spend two weeks with host families across the U.S and conclude the final program segment, a civic education week in Washington, DC, which will allow the students to use Washington as an experiential classroom, integrating what they have learned in the previous month with the sights and experiences within the nation’s capitol. Program dates of the exchange are: July/August 2014 (exact dates to be determined).

Both American and Iraqi participants will be required to implement follow-on activities upon their return home that will help the participants stay in touch with each other and reflect on their experiences and integrate that learning into their day-to-day lives at home. An important goal of the program is that the student leaders, now empowered, will train other student leaders through student led community oriented service projects.

The goals of the program:

  1. Enable the participants to understand civic participation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy;
  2. Develop leadership skills among high school students and adult leaders appropriate to their needs;
  3. Foster understanding and build relationships across ethnic, religious, and national groups; and
  4. Promote mutual understanding between the people of Iraq and the U.S.


“Before the program, I didn’t think about myself as a leader, but after this I am self-confident enough to believe that I can make a difference”

- Former IYLEP High School participant

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program for high school students is sponsored and funded by the US Embassy, Baghdad and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Youth Programs Division & administered by World Learning.