ICAR Welcomes Central Asian Students for Cultural Exchange

Posted: July 2, 2010 at 1:04 am, Last Updated: July 7, 2010 at 10:02 am

By Robin Herron

Last weekend, the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) welcomed to the Fairfax Campus a group of about 45 teenagers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the United States for a monthlong cultural exchange.

According to Julie Shedd, ICAR associate director for administration, “We are really excited about this opportunity to provide these students with a chance to see what the U.S. is all about, learn about democratic systems and governance and practice communicating across cultural and religious boundaries.

“We are also really excited about the opportunity to get to know some really exceptional young leaders and learn more about their culture and communities. So often our efforts in conflict resolution come after conflict exists, but we have an opportunity here to engage these students in conflict prevention efforts, as well as address conflicts currently happening.”

One of the goals of the program is to have these students, who are age 16-18, interact with as many Americans as possible.

Some of the activities planned for the students are a Fourth of July picnic at Point of View, ICAR’s retreat in Mason Neck, Va.; an evening social at the Fairfax Campus on July 13; an evening barbeque on the Fairfax Campus; and a trip to the Kennedy Center for a Millennium Stage performance.

The students will also be staying with American host families for a few days during their visit, and other families will be hosting the students for dinner or evening activities.

ICAR is still looking for families to host students for evening activities and home stays. If you are interested, please contact Shedd at jshedd@gmu.edu or 703-993-3650.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu