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CCI students travel during winter break

By Hillary Omitogun & Ziadah Ziad
On March 22, 2016

Community College Initiative (CCI) Kirkwood Community College students participated in the CCI conference in Washington and New York on Jan. 10-16. CCI is a fully funded exchange program under the United State’s Department of State that is given to students in 12 developing countries around the world. Those countries include Brazil, Bangladesh, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, South Africa, Pakistan and Turkey. This program provides a year of college experience that covers professional internships, service learning and community engagement activities.

More than 150 CCI students around the U.S. participated in this year’s conference. Under the theme Pathways to Success, this conference is a platform of refl ection and sharing about the fi rst six months of CCI students’ experiences in America. CCI students were required to submit a video about their college experience and prepare a presentation related to world issues before joining the conference. Jane Ann Rix, CCI Kirkwood coordinator stated, “The CCI workshop was a great opportunity for students to collaborate on projects and increase their professional network.”

This conference also included several guest speakers. Evan Ryan, assistant Secretary of State, and other experts from George Washington University discussed topics about peace and world diversity, entrepreneurship and community development projects. This conference also included courtesy calls to the United Nations, U.S. Mission to the United Nations (USUN) and visits to United States landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, the White House and several museums. On the way from Washington D.C. to New York, participants had a chance to learn the history of the country in its old capital, Philadelphia. There, they learned about Benjamin Franklin, the Liberty Bell, and the home of Betsy Ross and Rocky Stairs.

“To me, the visit to the Capitol was the highlight of the conference. I am amazed at what the paintings and symbols in the Library of Congress tell us,” said Sher Baz Khan, one of the  CCI Kirkwood students. During her closing speech in New York, Leeza Fernand, associate director of the CCI, said, “This program is a once in a lifetime experience. We would like for you to bring back wonderful memories and what you’ve learned to share with your home country.

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