Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Iraqi and American Students Dance in Pensacola

It’s been a busy week for the Gulf Coast Citizen’s Diplomacy Council, and its Executive Director, Jena Melancon Gissendanner as a group of Iraqi students in the U.S. Department of State’s International Youth Leadership Program arrived to stay with American host families, work, play and interact with American students, and participate in community activities.

At a special ceremony last night, participating students and host families were honored. Maren DeWeese, President of the Pensacola City Council presented Iraqi students honorary Pensacola citizen status. We got to see a video production that all the students were able to participate in creating, and, at the end, students told us in their own words how the week of interacting had changed their lives and perceptions.

One American teenager, DJ, told us that when it comes to cultures, adults may be different, but they had learned that teenagers have more in common than they have differences.

It made my heart sing. These young people will never forget the experience they have shared.

The evening ended with all the students demonstrating a Kurdish dance one of the students had taught them, Iraqis, Americans, guys and gals, all dancing this lively circle dance and loving every minute of their time together. You gotta love it.

Making a visit like this a success takes a lot of effort. So many people in Pensacola give of their time and energy and provide experiences for foreign visitors they would never otherwise have. The GCDC is an amazing organization; built on the commitment of citizens with a broad world vision. It makes us proud to be Pensacolians.

July 16, 2011 - Posted by | Adventure, Character, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Events, Friends & Friendship, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Relationships, Work Related Issues

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