- High School/Grades 9-12
Global Ties U.S.’s MENA-USA Empowering Resilient Girls Exchange (MERGE) brings together girls ages 15-19 from the United States and MENA region in a supportive virtual space to learn about their own mental health, develop emotional resilience skills, and share this knowledge with their communities.
Participants discuss and experiment with a variety of stress-relief and coping techniques while guided by trained facilitators, engaging in both synchronous (live) and asynchronous exchange. MERGE helps girls from diverse communities and backgrounds build skills and techniques to cope with stressors related to poverty and trauma, empowering them to share these tools with their communities through the program’s culminating mental resilience strategies website.
MERGE participants work together on a variety of cultural exchange activities like facilitated, small group dialogues that help build mutual understanding and trust among girls from different cultures and regions. Through interactive modules and guided reflections on stress relief and coping techniques like journaling, exercise, meditation, positive thoughts and affirmations, and nutrition, participants strengthen and share their experiences building mental resilience. At the end of the exchange, girls work in teams with the guidance of their facilitator to display their newfound knowledge by creating an entry for the program’s culminating mental resilience strategies website. This digital strategy resource bank is shared with participants’ communities online.
- Number of Participants: 400
- Participant Age Group: High School/Grades 9-12
- Partners in the United States: California – San Diego Diplomacy Council; Iowa – Council of International Visitors to Iowa Cities; New Hampshire – World Affairs Council of New Hampshire; Ohio – Global Ties Akron; Texas – World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
- Partners in the Middle East and North Africa: Jordan – Reclaim Childhood; Morocco – TIBU Maroc
- Project Duration: April 2021– June 2023
MENA-USA Empowering Resilient Girls Exchange (MERGE) is implemented by Global Ties U.S. and is supported by the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative (JCSVEI). JCSVEI is a U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program administered by the Aspen Institute.