American Councils for International Education and the American Civics Center will conduct a week-long Civic Education Workshop (CEW) for 100 YES students currently studying in the U.S. from February 24-March 2, 2018 in Washington, D.C. CEW is a unique opportunity for YES students to gain hands-on experience with U.S. organizations committed to community service and civil society and see first-hand the institutions of American government, including visits to members of Congress and a dialogue with policy makers at the State Department.
American Councils has invited three outstanding YES alumni to take part in the workshop as mentors to current YES students and to serve as ambassadors of the program. These talented and dynamic alumni have a demonstrable record of community service from their YES years and in their own countries. They will be invaluable role models for YES CEW students as they begin to think about the type of alumni they want to be and how they might give back to their home communities through service upon return.
This year, no matter where in the YES world you might be, you will get a unique opportunity to get to know our YES alumni mentors! Each of the three alumni will take over the YES Instagram account for one day ahead of their arrival to D.C. to share what their lives after the YES program looks like. In addition, we will host a Facebook Live event where alumni will talk more about their projects in their home communities on February 27. Check out the YES Facebook for more details.
With no further ado, meet our 2018 YES alumni mentors!
Mariyam Mohammed Suleman, 2011-12 ǀ Pakistan ǀ Hosted by AYUSA in Coquille, OR
During her YES exchange year in Oregon, Mariyam was a leader in her school's 4-H program and Key Club, dedicating over 300 hours of community service to her local community. She was part of the debate team and wrote for local newspapers and her personal blog. She was honored with the 4-H Outstanding Teen Award and the President’s Volunteer Service Award at the end of her exchange year.
Mariyam's experience as a participant in the 2012 Civic Education Workshop encouraged her interest in public issues, governance, and social change. Upon returning home to one of the least developed provinces of Pakistan, Mariyam began to address the issue of education for young girls by founding an English language learning center near her hometown of Gwadar. She recently graduated with a master’s in sociology with a research focus on education and women rights. Mariyam also wrote a book about her YES exchange year in her native language of Balochi, which was recently awarded an Allama-Iqbal Literary Provincial Award by the government of Balochistan.
Mariyam has led several significant YES alumni projects, including establishing a library for a rural community through a country-wide book drive. She has also led activities promoting education and social change for women in her region. In 2014, she served as the Youth Group Director for the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network chapter in Gwadar. She is a current member of the social sector development task force for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and she also works as an assistant editor for an online newspaper, The Balochistan Point. With her passion for social activism and self-actualization through education and awareness, Mariyam is sure to bring a positive change to Gwadar, greater Balochistan, and Pakistan!
Tune in on Thursday, February 15 when Mariyam takes over the YES Instagram!
Mohamad Issa Jamal, 2007-08 ǀ Lebanon ǀ Hosted by AYUSA in Bandera, TX
Mohamad discovered his passion for chemistry in the Bandera High School lab. His love grew as he competed in and won the University Intellectual League during his YES exchange year. In 2012, Mohamad earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and he’s been giving back to the youth of Lebanon as a science teacher since then. In 2017, he earned his master’s degree in organic molecular chemistry and is currently preparing to pursue his PhD in the same field.
Mohamad credits his YES experience with growing many of his talents, including participating in the arts. In Bandera, he competed in the Visual Arts Scholastic Event and won a medal for his drawing called “Lebanon.” He also competed in “Banderian Idol,” winning third place for a song he sang in Arabic, and was a member of Bandera High School’s award winning men’s choir.
Mohamad’s exchange experience also helped him realize his passion for community service. With more than 200 volunteer hours logged during his YES year through Key Club and volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club of America, he found that true joy lies in helping others.
Since his return home, Mohamad has used his experience to improve his country by being one of the most active alumni in Lebanon. As the first Regional YES Alumni Coordinator of the North, he turned the region into the most active in just one year. In 2012, he was elected as the YES Alumni President in Lebanon for a yearlong term, and focused on projects with orphans, children with disabilities, and the elderly. Mohamad and his team of YES alumni are currently organizing the first YES Charity Concert to benefit the Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon. It is clear that Mohamad’s YES year was the catalyst that transformed him into a conscious world citizen and chemist.
Tune in on Tuesday, February 20 when Mohamad takes over the YES Instagram!
Muawiya (Muawi) Adamu, 2007-08 ǀ Nigeria ǀ Hosted by IRIS in Adel, IA
Muawi’s inspiration to become a medical doctor can be credited to his Iowan host mother, who is a paramedic and physiologist. As a medical student, Muawi was appointed chairman of the Health Committee of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, where he has helped organize several programs providing free screenings for HIV, diabetes, hypertension, hepatitis B, malaria, sickle cell anemia, and body mass index for over 2,000 students.
During his exchange year in Iowa, Muawi completed 100 hours of community service, attended leadership training conferences, and gave countless presentations about the YES program and Nigeria. But it was the opportunity to meet then-U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and observe the 2008 presidential campaign which developed within him a deep interest in politics and civic duty. In 2014, he ran in his university’s student union government elections and won the seat of Vice President.
As a YES alumnus, Muawi has participated in several leadership, health, and peace conferences organized by the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria and local NGOs. In 2012, he designed and implemented an interactive peace workshop for 60 youth following the post-2011 election violence that engulfed Nigeria. He put the computer knowledge he acquired as a YES student into organizing free computer lessons for 80 young people in Taraba State from 2009-2012. He is also a volunteer chemistry and biology teacher and career guidance adviser at two secondary schools in his home town. And this doctor has no plans of slowing his efforts; Muawi’s vision to heal the bodies and grow the minds of his community has only just begun!
Tune in on Friday, February 9 when Muawi takes over the YES Instagram!
Want to hear more from these amazing alumni? Join us on Tuesday, February 27 at 6 p.m. ET to hear their stories on Facebook Live!