Two weeks ago, students from the Adobe Youth Voices Peapod Academy in Redwood City, California participated in a virtual exchange with AYV & iEARN students in Pakistan. The event, one of the first in a campaign spearheaded by iEARN to connect classrooms around the globe, has had a lasting impact on students in California, whose ambitions and academic plans have been influenced by the experience.
PJ Poloai, pictured above interviewing US Undersecretary Judith McHale during the exchange, is one of five AYV Peapod students who have expressed an interest in participating in the YES Program, a unique exchange opportunity funded by the US Department of State with the mission of “building bridges of understanding” between Americans and the Muslim world.
Other AYV Peapod students who expressed an interest in participating in the YES Program include Jose Saavedra, Lilianna Moreno, Giovanni Flores, and Britney Mitchell. “Viewing someone else’s country through their own eyes, rather than hearing it from the news, it is a very unique and amazing concept,” said Britney. “This program and conference call with the teens [in Pakistan] has shown me that no matter where someone is in the world, you’ll always find you are more alike than expected.”
Jose Saavedra also had the opportunity to speak with Undersecretary McHale about his intentions to create awareness of child labor, a topic of discussion between students in California & Pakistan during the virtual exchange. “I would love to make a media piece about child labor to create awareness about this issue around the world,” said Jose. “Hopefully we can influence policy makers to make an positive impact on children not only in Pakistan but around the world.”
The impact of the virtual exchange was personal as well as global in scope. Alejandra Godinez, who is pictured above taking a front row seat to meet her peers in Pakistan, is a 17-year-old high school student who also takes courses at Cañada College. Alejandra said of her participation, “I would have never thought I would be part of something so great. This experience has encouraged me to continue college, which will make me the first one to graduate in my family.”
Undersecretary Judith McHale said that the AYV youth from the United States and Pakistan who attended the world’s first AYV / iEARN virtual exchange “could become the worlds future ambassadors in public diplomacy, truly creating global understanding, tolerance and acceptance of each other differences, focusing on common ground and how countries can work together to affect world wide issues.”
It was an honor for Adobe Youth Voices to partner with iEARN in this pilot exchange, and we look forward to working together to host future virtual exchanges, and to seeing where the seeds of inspiration take our AYV Peapod students!