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MUSLIM-US TEEN DIPLOMACY

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    MUSLIM-US DIPLOMACY - ONE TEEN AT A TIME - TOP Stacy A. Teicher, Christian Science Monitor, 6/28/05 http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0628/p12s02-legn.html
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2005
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      MUSLIM-US DIPLOMACY - ONE TEEN AT A TIME - TOP
      Stacy A. Teicher, Christian Science Monitor, 6/28/05
      http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0628/p12s02-legn.html


      FALMOUTH, MASS. - The US government sponsors a student exchange that
      brings young people from Muslim nations to America. Here's how Ruba,
      an Iraqi, spent the school year in Falmouth, Mass.

      Sometimes diplomacy is as simple as a teenager's smile. In the halls
      of Falmouth Academy on Massachusetts' Cape Cod, the face of Iraq is
      Ruba - unveiled and unabashed as she gives out hugs and high-fives.

      "I love answering questions," she says as she nears the end of her
      year here as a high school junior. "Someone asked if I have a
      refrigerator. They always ask me why I'm so normal - that's the best
      question ever!"

      Along with 10 boys from Iraq and some 400 other high-schoolers from
      predominantly Muslim countries, Ruba has been studying in the United
      States through a program the State Department launched in the 2002-03
      school year, in response to the fissures of 9/11. It's one of the
      modest steps by governments and educators to create a new tide of
      young ambassadors.

      Many connections take the form of letters, e-mails, and joint projects
      online. As a token of friendship with counterparts in Afghanistan and
      Iraq, American classrooms have raised money and sent everything from
      school supplies to candy. But students old enough to travel find that
      meeting face to face is the quickest way to make stereotypes crumble.

      So far, the flow has been largely in one direction - to the US. The
      State Department spent $ 11 million this fiscal year on scholarships,
      and wants $ 20 million to bring 600 high-schoolers here this fall. The
      hope is that when the students go home, they'll spread a better image
      of America, perhaps even acting upon the democratic ideals they've
      been exposed to. (MORE)

      http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0628/p12s02-legn.html

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