The U.S. Department of State selected Noof Assi, an Iraqi alumna of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP), as May’s State Alumni Member of the Month in recognition of her leadership in promoting civic engagement among Arab youth through social media. Assi participated in a 2010 Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP), which allowed her to attend the University of Southern Indiana.
Applying the leadership and cross-cultural communication skills she developed during her exchange, Assi has become a prominent youth activist and social media leader in Iraq and the region. She organized Arab Spring support rallies and gatherings for the youth of Baghdad. Currently, she reaches out to online audiences writing in both English and Arabic on her blog, “Noofeshka: I want to be the change that I want to see.” She also co-founded Iraqi Streets 4 Change, an organization that promotes grassroots change in Iraq through civic activism. She currently works as a Project Assistant and Social Media Trainer for the Iraqi Al-Amal Association, where she shares her talents with Iraqi youth and women, training them to employ social media tools for social progress.
Despite her full schedule, Assi remains an enthusiastic supporter of Iraq’s exchange alumni community, regularly assisting in recruitment of future IYLEP participants. She recently spoke about civil society activism and social media at an IYLEP Alumni Leadership Development Conference. She is also currently seeking support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund project competition in order to publish a compilation of stories and highlights from her exchange experience that she hopes will increase mutual understanding between Iraq and the United States.