On Wednesday, May 30th 2018, students attending the American University of Kurdistan in Dohuk, had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural session of Extended Hand dialogues in Iraq.
Extended Hand is an innovative program where participants engage in structured, cross-cultural, dialogues promoting understanding between different people and cultures.
Developed by PennState University and the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association in support of NATO cross-cultural learning requirements for Afghanistan, these programs included the participation of military members from more than 10 NATO member states, engaging with peer aged students and civil society organizations in Afghanistan. Based on successful results, learning innovation and knowledge exchange arising from the Afghanistan-based programs, the 1st NAEF partnered to expand the concept to other nations where allied troops are deployed.
After a successful and productive first session, AUK will continue holding weekly dialogue sessions under 1st NAEF programs.
"Bringing the Extended Hand model to Kurdistan marks the beginning of strong new programs for enhancing cross-cultural learning and international relations opportunities. It is really great to see the inaugural programs taking place between AUK students and regional civil society members in Afghanistan. This pilot sets the stage for more nuanced and personal understandings for participants," - 1st NAEF CEO & Founder, Ian Bradbury.
"The unique and tremendous value of this initiative could not be more apparent and compelling. An initiative such as Extended Hand is the future for cross-cultural training enhancement across elements of civil society and coalition militaries. Building upon this initiative with AUK in Kurdistan is special." - 1st NAEF Program Manager, Whitman Davis.