Young Saudi Leaders

August 6, 2015- This month, VT Engage is partnering with Legacy International to host a group of students participating in the Saudi Young Leaders Exchange Program (SYLEP).

For three weeks, “a diverse group of 34 Saudi university students who have demonstrated leadership abilities in their schools and communities, will be engaging in a dynamic leadership and service-oriented program” (Legacy International).

From August 6 to 14, twelve SYLEP guests will visit Virginia Tech’s campus, working with VT Engage to learn more about community service and service learning in the United States. They are spending each day engaging in a variety of education and service activities, as well as visiting area tourist sites.

Some highlights of the week include:

  • A community panel with representatives from community partners that work closely with VT Engage throughout the year on service events. Participants will discuss social issues in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, and discuss ways to address these issues through community engagement.
  • A visit to Carilion Clinic to meet with doctors and medical students. Several SYLEP participants are studying medicine, and wanted an opportunity to get a glimpse of health care in the United States.
  • Service trips to Micah’s Garden, YMCA community gardens, Habitat for Humanity, and Belview Elementary School.

During their community immersion experience in Blacksburg, they will have the opportunity to observe the challenges facing our region, as well as how “individuals, non-governmental organizations, and government entities address these needs through public, private, and joint initiatives” (Legacy International.)

Following their time at Virginia Tech, the participants will attend a leadership summit and design service projects to implement upon their return to Saudi Arabia.

Two Virginia Tech students, Osama Farooqi and Emily Neer, were selected by Legacy International to participate as peer ambassadors throughout the three-week program, which kicked off July 31 with a week of orientation and leadership training in Washington, D.C.

In addition to participating in the program, Farooqi, a senior majoring in applied economic management, and Neer, a senior double majoring in human development and psychology, are assisting with planning, coordinating, and leading events throughout the group’s time in Blacksburg.

Keep up to date with the group’s activities on social media by searching for #SYLEP2015.

About Legacy International

Legacy International was founded in 1979. Over the years, its programs for adults and youth have attracted participants from over 105 countries. Legacy helps people develop skills in community service, volunteerism, legislative development, community health, conflict prevention, entrepreneurship and other areas.

Participants have included both governmental and non-governmental professionals in areas such as public health, education, journalism, public policy, and law. SYLEP is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and administered by Legacy International with assistance from the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia.