L'ASSOCIATION DES MUSULMANS PROGRESSITES DU CANADA

ASSOCIATION OF PROGRESSIVE MUSLIMS OF CANADA

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INTERNATIONAL VISITOR LEADERSHIP PROGRAM FOR CANADIAN MUSLIM YOUTH

July 4 through 11, 2012, eight young Muslims took part in the first  IVLP in Washington and Philadelphia as winners of a contest held by the Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada in partnership with the Embassy of the United States of America, Ottawa. 

Jasim Malik, Naima Sidow, Maryam Abdur-Razak,Iskandar Gadirzade,, Yumna Siddiqi, Fayez Patel, Dilzayn Panjwani, Sheraz Ali Khan  participated. Each and everyone commented that their visit was very enjoyable and they learnt a lot. 

The trip comprised of three elements: knowledge based briefings, networking with NGO’s and other local and international outreach programs, and the cultural experience. All participants were extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate and had positive experience.

For many of the participants, their knowledge of the American political system was limited.  Naima Sidow said that "the  knowledge-based briefings gave me a great overview of the American political system, and laid down the foundations for me to do further research on the subject, which I highly anticipate starting!”.  Yumna Siddiqi agreed.  For her, the federalism briefing by Dr. Rozol “was very informative because there is a lot about the American federal system I personally didn’t understand, and I really found it helpful to have the basics covered so early in the trip. They also took the opportunity to extend the conversation to relate it to current affairs, for example the upcoming elections".

The scheduled meetings were styled more like conversations than lectures, which participants appreciated as there was “room for bold questions and intelligent responses from all sides”.  The condensed nature of the meetings, however, meant there was “limited time to learn and understand from each other”.  Meetings with Operation Understanding, which offers cross-cultural programs to bridge gaps and connect people, and at the National Constitution Center, which focuses on overseas projects and the implementation of foreign policy and civil education, were of particular interest to participants.

 The second component of the trip, networking with NGO’s and outreach programs, was particularly meaningful for participants, as many of them were already actively involved in community service.  Participants said they recognized that a lack of Canadian volunteerism exists, and meetings with various groups to learn  about their programs, in particular Atlas Corps, the YSA, and the ADAMS Center, gave them “fresh ideas on how to enhance current programs, better ways of integration, inclusion and inspiration, ideas and new found hope for what can be done within the communities.  The transparent nature of the meetings, in which the organizations were eager to offer recommendations for future Canadian community development and provide contact information, was inspirational and thought-provoking in how participants could better themselves and have a positive impact in their communities.

You can read more about this trip by going to the U.S.A Embassy website by clicking on the URLs below:

http://canada.usembassy.gov/news-events/2012-news-and-events/july-2012/ivlp_youngmuslims.html

http://canada.usembassy.gov/news-events/2012-news-and-events/july-2012/13-july-2012-canadian-muslim-young-ambassador-diaries.html

Here are some photos of the trip.