Over the weekend of February 3rd, 2018, The Stanley Foundation hosted its 22nd Iowa Student Global Leadership Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.
All exchange students living in Iowa are invited to attend this event, as well as invite an Iowa friend to join in the fun. Students from all over the world, representing many different programs and countries, and placed by all the various placement organizations, have been in attendance. Over 100 students get a chance to meet new faces, while placement organizations like IRIS’s get to chat with other organizations doing the same great work across the state.
For many years, IRIS’s exchange students made up the largest group of representatives for one given placement organization. This year, IRIS brought 20 of our 30 placed students to ISGLC. From a “traditional clothing” fashion show to an energetic evening of dancing, the first night was full of fun and laughter. The following day, a keynote speaker, Dean Jacobs, discussed turning his passion for travel and photography into his career. Students divided into groups later in the day to discuss important global issues.
“ISGLC to me is the best initiative for the exchange students to have fun and know each other in a short time,” explains Aryan (Bangladesh), who lives with a host family in Harcourt, Iowa. “I made so many nice friends from so many different countries. Along the way, I came to learn many similarities with my country with some [others], like Ukraine, Portugal and Japan.”
“I liked the sessions that the students facilitators gave, because it really teaches me something from everyone’s opinions,” agreed Shaimaa (Egypt), who lives with a host mom and another exchange student, Farieda (Thailand), in Davenport. “It was really fun!”
Hooria (Pakistan), also living in Davenport, said, “ISGLC was a great opportunity for all the Iowan exchange students to come, sit together and learn about different countries and meet new people. I learned how to respect other people’s culture and norms. I learned how to make friends in a very short period of time and above all of them I learned how to celebrate diversity.”
Insirah (Philippines) shared an amazing perspective which she gained over the weekend: “It was fascinating and overwhelming how amazingly in one universe, nine planets, 204 countries, and 809 islands with seven seas, we had the privilege to meet 1/4 of the world represented by wonderful exchange students in Iowa during the notable ISGLC.”
Insirah lives with a host family in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area. She is the only exchange student at her high school, making this a great opportunity for her to spend time with others with which she shares so much. “I learned so many lessons that I will never forget. Dean Jacobs with his wondrous keynote taught us how we can achieve more than what we thought possible in life. The conference itself taught us that great leaders are not just followers but difference-makers.”
IRIS would like to thank The Stanley Foundation for another amazing ISGLC event. Our students always have an amazing time and leave feeling inspired to continue their important work as global ambassadors in Iowa schools.