Ufuk Atalay is the president of “Youth for Understanding, Turkey” and “Youth Development Association”. He participated in International Visitor Leadership Program on “Exploring Youth Policies and Expanding Opportunities for Young People” in 2011. During his exchange program, he had a chance to visit 10 cities in 6 states. He met with various youth policy actors such as youth leaders, academicians, justice officials, congress members, mayors etc and gained first-hand knowledge about American youth and challenges they face.
He witnessed that youth issues and challenges have some similarities in both countries. He was so amazed seeing how effective approaches and solutions were designed, formulated and implemented in the USA.
Upon his return to Turkey, he started implementing the concepts and practices that he explored during his exchange program. He applied to the US Embassy Alumni Grants Competition with his “Color Glasses” project and was entitled to obtain grant from this competition in 2012. Within the scope of this project, students at some high schools in İstanbul, İzmir, Bursa, Antalya, Adana, Samsun and Eskisehir participated in workshops that enabled them to understand and examine their own attitudes to different cultures and as well as to learn segregation, prejudice and cultural cliché issues.
Let’s hear Ufuk’s testimony about his US exchange program: ” Participation to an US Exchange program is absolutely beyond visiting the USA as a tourist. You see cultural diversity, touch the lives of people. Thus, you learn the USA in depth. Therefore, I definetly suggest you look for any opportunity to participate in an US exchange program.”
Please click the following link for more information about International Visitor Leadership Program: http://eca.state.gov/ivlp