OCTOBER 12, 2010  
 “Programs for Peace and Cultural Exchange”     

Thank you to Gwendolyn Van Sant and BRIDGE for introducing us to PAX.
Our featured guests were scholarship exchange students and Lelia Bruun, a coordinator for PAX (Program Academic Exchange) and YES Programs (Youth Exchange Study, created after 9/11 to promote peace and understanding.) Lelia spoke about PAX and YES and her work with scholarship students from Afghanistan, India, Ghana and Russia. 

Students included: Mohammed Adawalai from Ghana, Ramiz Shaikh from India, Jamshid Zafar from Afghanistan, and Lyosha Filippou from Russia. Each student shared stories and faith traditions from home and described the competitive process they went through to be chosen as an exchange student.

A lively discussion followed and we're looking forward to seeing more of our new friends at future potlucks.

Lelia Bruun, a coordinator for PAX  works with U.S. State Dept. scholarship exchange students in the YES  and FLEX (Future Leaders Of Exchange) programs. Both organizations work with high school students between the ages of 15-18 as a diplomacy initiative designed to build bridges of peace and understanding. Lelia serves as the local coordinator for both the Fresh Air Fund and the Program for Academic Exchange. Her involvement with the Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency providing free summer vacations to inner-city children ages 6-18 in need, began nearly 15 years ago first as a host family followed by her current role as Fund Representative for Berkshire County managing the Williamstown and Great Barrington Friendly Towns.

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