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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Two Iraqi students to return to USI

News and Information Article Photo
Photo Credit:
USI Photo Services
Contact for more information:
Wendy Knipe Bredhold
Media Relations Specialist, News & Information Services
The University of Southern Indiana has awarded full scholarships to two Iraqi students who participated in last summer's Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). Eugene Yousif of Duhok and Shan Sherwan of Sulaymaniyah have been selected to study at USI and serve as global ambassadors to USI and the greater Evansville community.

Twenty-three Iraqi students lived and studied at USI for six weeks in summer 2010. The program included community service, classroom instruction, field trips and site visits, leadership training, conflict resolution, and cultural and recreational activities. (View a slideshow of images from USI's IYLEP program.)

USI was one of two institutions selected by World Learning for the 2010 program, which was sponsored by the Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Forty-eight students participated, with 25 studying at Colorado State University.

In February, USI invited its 23 students to apply for the IYLEP 2010 Scholarship Program which includes full tuition (including required summer sessions), room and board.

Dr. Kevin Valadares, associate professor and chair of health services administration, was a lead faculty member in the IYLEP 2010 program. He and Heidi Gregori-Gahan, director of International Programs and Services and IYLEP program leader, brought the idea for the scholarship program to the administration before the students left the U.S.

"One of the reasons we wanted to do this is to continue advancing our strategic plan, which includes diversifying our campus," Valadares said. "Diversity is a main construct of the plan. This is one opportunity of many for international students to get their degrees here and have a positive impact on the campus and the community."

The idea received immediate support from Dr. Linda L.M. Bennett, USI's president, Dr. Ronald S. Rochon, provost, and Mark Rozewski, vice president for Finance and Administration.

"President Bennett was interested in having the students return to complete their degrees at USI," Valadares said. "The students will be immersed in the student population and share with the USI community and the greater community their experiences in life."

After finishing a bachelor's degree in engineering at University of Sulaymaniyah this fall, Sherwan will pursue a bachelor's degree in social work at USI beginning in January 2012.

She said the scholarship is "a dream come true."

"I am really interested in social work and it will help me to make my community and my society a better place to live in," she said. "I am looking forward to learning more, seeing different things, and having new experiences. I am sure USI will give me all those things."

Yousif, who is currently completing a bachelor's degree in electrical and computer engineering at University of Duhok, will pursue a bachelor's degree in computer information systems at USI beginning in the fall.

Yousif said there are many reasons that he applied for the scholarship. He likes the area, loves the people, and is attracted to earning a bachelor's degree from an "international university," but he is primarily interested in earning a bachelor's degree in just two years. "It's the specialization I want, and I believe it will help me in my future career," he said.

"Sooner or later I will come back to my home," he added. "I have the potential to change at least a portion of my community."

For more information, contact Gregori-Gahan in International Programs and Services at 812/465-1248.

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