Posted on March 22, 2017

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) has partnered with the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) to bring together seven students from Qatar and four from Portland, Los Angeles and Tucson to participate in the 28th annual National Service Learning Conference (NSLC): Dare to Dream!, held at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, from March 22-24, 2017.

The students were selected through QFI’s and NYLC’s service learning exchange program, YALLAH Commit to Action (YALLAH C2A). Over the course of four months, YALLAH C2A trained, mentored, and supported an international cohort of young change-makers, to collaborate and complete service projects that work towards achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Students presented their community service projects at a live virtual showcase that took place in Doha, Qatar on the 26th of February. The top projects were selected to present at the National Service Learning Conference. Projects presented to judges included, ‘Saving the Planet, One Step at a Time’; ‘Quality Education: Youth Engagement’; ‘Hope through Hygiene among Homeless in Portland’; ‘Gender Inequality in Sports’; ‘Saving the Turtles of the Gulf’; and ‘Service for Workers’.

Lina Draidia, a student at Al Bayan Secondary Independent School for Girls, Doha, and one of the students selected to join the exchange, said: “Being part of C2A has been a life-changing experience. It has given me an amazing opportunity to make a difference to the lives of other young people. Our project focuses on the lack of awareness around the availability of quality education in marginalized communities. I think that allowing the youth to develop these projects is a marvelous idea because we are the same age as the people we are trying to help and we have so much in common with them.”

“We are very proud of our students and their commitment to addressing global issues through service-learning and our ongoing partnership with NYLC,” said Maggie Mitchell Salem, Executive Director of QFI. “These exchanges offer students and educators a chance to reach beyond their classroom and their community to develop cross-cultural and critical thinking skills that are essential in an increasingly interdependent world.”

During the conference, students will attend workshops to learn more about service-learning and youth empowerment across the globe. Additionally, the 11 students will lead their own workshops for Dare to Dream attendees on their service-learning projects and will also take part in educational and cultural tours of Anaheim and Los Angeles throughout the week, including a luncheon hosted by the Consulate General of the State of Qatar. The conference culminates with a Day of Service, where students and teachers will participate in community service throughout Anaheim, to give back to the host community, connect with nonprofits in the area, and hear from community leaders.

Additionally, QFI supported NYLC to translate the K-12 Service-learning Standards for Quality Practice into Arabic. This valuable material now allows Arabic speakers from around the world to learn about and create their own service-learning projects using tools built specifically for them.