Webinar: Youth Voices – Insights from Virtual Exchange Participants

Event Details
  • Date

    November 16, 2021

  • Time

    11:00 am - 12:00 pm
    U.S. Eastern Time

  • Location


While virtual exchange practitioners are experts in creating impactful programs, youth participants have a valuable perspective drawn from their virtual exchange experience that should be considered. Hear from three young people about their virtual exchange and what they think all education and exchange leaders should know when designing and implementing a program. They’ll reflect on their experience and provide tips, including how to communicate with young people about the value of participating in virtual exchange.

This event is part of our 2021 International Education Week Lineup. Access all IEW activities and announcements here.

Manal Elattir (@StevensInit) is a Regional Program Manager based in Morocco. She has been an advocate for women and youth empowerment and leadership in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is the founder of ASILA, a social enterprise that empowers grassroots women entrepreneurs through business capacity building, mentoring and networking and through the creation of an ethical fashion brand Asilashop connecting them to the global market. Manal co-founded the first mentoring network for women in Morocco and trained more than 1500 youth across MENA region on entrepreneurship and career guidance. She was also the director of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Alumni Network in Morocco. Manal has been recognized at the international level for her work and has been selected in some of the most prestigious programs including FORTUNE Most Powerful Women program, UNESCO Human Rights International Fellow, and the Women Leaders of the World by the Global Women Leadership Network. Manal has been the recipient of the Architects of the Future Award, the Australia Middle East Media Women’s Award and the World of Difference Award by the International Alliance of Women. She is a motivational speaker and an international public speaker on issues ranging from entrepreneurship, youth employment, women’s rights and intercultural dialogue.

Amira Ihardane is a sophomore undergraduate student at the American University of Sharjah. She has a keen interest in global politics and international relations, and is currently majoring in International Studies with a minor in Economics. Though a Moroccan national, she has called the UAE home for the last 17 years. Her interests beyond academia include, though are not limited to, visual arts, equestrian sports, and reading. She is an avid reader of political fiction and the news and makes a consistent effort to keep informed on current global events. She is delighted to be joining the Stevens Initiative once again for this webinar to share about her virtual exchange program, especially since this was an experience she benefitted and learned from quite extensively.

Youness Mizmani is currently pursuing his postgraduate studies in the Moroccan American Studies Master program at Hassan II University’s Faculty of Letters and Humanities of Ben M’sik in Casablanca. As an undergraduate, he studied Applied Language Studies and graduated in 2020. His virtual exchange experience includes participating twice in the Women Leadership Virtual Exchange program ran by Hassan II University in Casablanca in partnership with Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia. His interests include languages, politics, history, mythology, media studies, and cultural studies. Youness plans on further pursuing his studies in a Ph.D. program once he completes his Master studies.

Sophia Rodríguez is a third-year student pursuing a degree in Business Administration with an Area of Specialization in International Studies. Sophia is a Hispanic/Latina that is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Sophia has worked at the Global Language Network. In this language-learning nonprofit organization, she created and executed lesson plans and correlating hands-on projects to engage students to enhance their knowledge of the Spanish language and cultural perspective. Currently, Sophia is a Career Prep Fellow at Management Leadership of Tomorrow, a professional development organization that works towards enhancing the diversity of the workforce one fellow at a time. Sophia has even spoken on a station presented by NPR on WUFT 89.1, celebrating the 75th anniversary of our United Nations in October of 2020. She specializes in talking about the magnitude that having an intercultural competence can have on an individual.