youth for understanding (YFU)

Erin Helland discusses how people-to-people exchanges are merging with the world of digital diplomacy.

Youth in Des Moines, Iowa have more in common with students in Tunisia than they thought. In particular, a passion for social justice. While participating in Youth for Understanding’s (YFU) Virtual Exchange Initiative, a program that digitally connects students in different countries for moderated, in-depth discussion, a group of students in Iowa brought up the Black Lives Matter movement.

In 2016 YFU announced the creation of a Virtual Exchange Initiative to expand on its mission to advance intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families, and communities.The pilot program encourages online open dialogue among teenagers in the US and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).