Meet this year’s IOU Respect Participants!

27 July 2016

After a competitive application process, 4 individuals were selected to participate in IOU Respect, a HI USA signature program that exemplifies our mission. These 4 delegates will join representatives from Egypt, France, Germany, Lebanon, and Tunisia for an intensive 2 weeks of facilitated discussion on controversial topics, ranging from politics to religion to gender equality. Hosted by Hostelling International, this year’s program takes place in Egypt, July 24-August 6.

headshot of Perry

Perry C. (Team Leader) was an IOU Respect participant in Tunisia in 2014. He states that through IOU Respect, “I gained insight into the various perspectives of youth my age from around the world; challenging my personal worldview, in a safe space where respectful dialogue was encouraged and practiced”. He looks forward to being a Team Leader in order to help foster a “safe and supportive cultural learning environment”. Perry is pursuing a career in academia in the area of child psychology.

headshot of Jesse

Jesse L. is pursuing a graduate degree in epidemiology and global health from the University of Texas, Austin. His career goal is to “actively be in service with aid groups around the world, and to start up a volunteer organization dedicated to refugees’ integration and social services”. Jesse’s goal for the interactions he has through IOU Respect is to “understand how each life story fits into a broader narrative of what it means to be human and how we can bridge differences in order to foster a culture of solidarity”. He wants to improve his own cultural competency in order to share this learning with community members at home. Jesse recently traveled solo to Vietnam to experience the culture and the people of the country his parents are from.

headshot of Jennifer

Jennifer R. holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where she completed a final project for her Transitions to Democracy course on the Arab Spring in Egypt. Jennifer is currently living in Boston as an AmeriCorps member in the New America Integration Program. She is interested in a career in education policy and administration, specifically to benefit migrant children. From IOU Respect, she hopes to “learn how the places in which we have grown up have given us different perspectives on what is most important to us, but also how our sense of humanity makes us similar nevertheless”.

headshot of Leilani
Leilani S. is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in International Business at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Through IOU Respect, she hopes to “learn about myself as a global citizen, strip any misconceptions I have of other cultures, gain lifelong friendships, and realize how small the world really is”. She has extensively studied the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and travels to the Philippines frequently to visit her mother’s side of the family.

headshot of Garrett
Garrett S. graduated from University of Colorado Boulder, with a bachelors degree in Integrative Physiology. He is currently a high school teacher and track coach and plans on returning to school to pursue a Doctorate degree. As a hostelling veteran, Garrett states that “hostels are one of the most entertaining, educational, and eye-opening experiences someone can have while traveling”. During IOU Respect, he hopes to “personally develop, immerse myself in new cultures, perspectives and ideals while hopefully sharing my own culture experiences, and beliefs with youths from across the world”.