YES Programs



Full of Pride and Joy


By: Layan Albraik (YES 2018 – 2019, Saudi Arabic, hosted by World Link in Des Moines, IA)

I’m Layan Albraik, a current Saudi YES student, and I recently had an experience that made me feel exhilarated. Let me start with the thoughts I had in my mind, but before that the pieces of information I had to prepare for my presentation.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been actively involved in regional and international meetings dealing with combating terrorism and criminalizing acts of terrorism. According to Islamic law, which his practiced in Saudi Arabia, terrorism acts are crimes that are subject to the most severe penalties. Saudi Arabia is absolutely resolved to eliminate terrorism through successful security measures, and has employed all of its institutions to protect society from the danger of terrorists and eliminate large numbers of them in various regions of the Kingdom.

Through its official systems, the State has also worked to dry up and root out the sources of terrorism by reorganizing donations for charitable works that are likely to be exploited for legitimate purposes. Saudi Arabia has established a large civil authority to oversee all relief and charity work to regulate the work of those bodies and the use of illegal acts by humanitarian bodies.

His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced the formation of an Islamic alliance from 34 countries to combat terrorism.

This is my country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has stood tall before anyone trying to undermine it or Islam and Muslims. In a state of tolerance, love, and pride, it is my wish to defend my homeland through the platform of my host school. I want the students to know the reality of Islam and Muslims and the Saudi role in order to establish security everywhere, which is a principle of belief that everyone has the right to live safely everywhere.

Here starts my first experience in presenting a unique presentation that I felt was so sensitive to talk about. My U.S. history challenged me to present a presentation about Saudi Arabia fighting against terrorism.

It was the day I waited for, the day I felt that my first task as a national ambassador. I had been surprised that many people in the world believed my country was the cause of what happened on 9/11, and  I felt that my work as a national ambassador began here to change that worldview. On the second day of October, I presented my country’s national counter-terrorism achievements.

I was confused on how to start my presentation. I thought a lot but to no avail. I trusted Allah’s facilitation. My presentation time is approaching and I do not know how to start. I sat thinking and thinking but I felt distracted when I saw a fight between two of my classmates. I felt very weary. They are my colleagues and I will present them my country’s achievements. It made me feel wearier that the rest of my classmates were encouraging each other to increase their anger. Students were taking videos for the fight which made me feel frustrated at the beginning.

But I soon got the idea, and that is to start by talking about the importance of respect that every young man and woman must have, which is linked to the achievements and the importance of our role as youth to serve the world. Saudi Arabia guarantees the achievements and the importance of youth to serve the world, which requires respect and good morals. In every achievement I have talked about, even if it is about fighting terrorism, I learned about the methods followed by our kings and princes, which were the most important reasons for all the achievements. The expressions of my teacher and the students showed their surprise and astonishment.

I was overwhelmed with joy, and I was proud of this achievement. I remember immediately after the lesson, the students were talking about the presentation and about my strength and stability. Yes, I felt happy and I expected those reactions.

My eyes were focused on a teacher who was standing in the corridor opposite the classroom.  I tried to figure out how she was feeling. I asked her when I was on my way to the next class about her opinion about the presentation. She said “thank you”, but I did not feel satisfied.

I wanted her precise observations. So I wrote her a letter, and a few minutes later she replied back.  She wrote, “I thought it was fantastic! The information was very informative and required students to think about things they probably have never thought about before. My favorite part was the beginning-the respect part. They are so used to treating each other poorly and do not realize what a harmful part of their personality it is. I appreciate you taking the time to put together your presentation.”

I was delighted by those words and overwhelmed by the feedback that made my day full with pride and joy. I simply replied, “I’m glad you liked it! Thanks for the feedback!” 

I will end now the same way I ended that presentation, by saying the sky is our ambition. I stood proudly and said this is my beloved country the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


What advice do you have for the 2019-2020 YES students? 

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