In November of 2010 the Ayusa headquarters office was overflowing with impressive submissions for this year's International Education Week contest. The Ayusa students who participated in this exciting event sponsored by the Department of State sent in applications that proved Ayusa students are being excellent junior ambassadors and achieving great things through cultural exchange. From over 90 remarkable entries our selection committee was able to choose three contestants who really stood out from the crowd. Thank you to everyone who submitted applications for your hard work, dedication, and creativity!
1st prize: Venera Shamyonova Nailyevna (Turkmenistan)
2nd prize: Mohammad Al Hariri (Lebanon)
3rd prize: Ameer Saleh (Israel) and Guram Javakhadze (Georgia)
1st: Venera Shamyonova Nailyevna is a FLEX scholarship student from Turkmenistan living with the Michiels family in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Venera blew this year’s IEW judges away by completing 49 presentations to over 1578 people of all ages! She began working on her presentation back home in Turkmenistan as soon as she found out she was a FLEX finalist, collecting memorabilia and pictures to include. Venera covered much of Turkmen culture, from food to education to dance, including showing a video of traditional dance to get audience members involved. Her audiences truly appreciated such a wonderful opportunity to understand both her experience back home and as an exchange student here! A participant wrote: “Venera had wonderfully creative ideas and shared excellent first-hand stories and explanations of her country with [us]…Through her stories and other examples she was able to create a tangible venture of Turkmenistan for us.”
Photo: Venera making one of her 49 presentations!
2nd: Mohammad Al Hariri is a YES scholarship student from Lebanon who lives with the Shikany family in Springfield, Missouri. Since he arrived on program, Mohammad’s local coordinator Traci Clary has spoken highly of his eagerness to learn and really take advantage of his experience in the US. He impressed this year’s judges with his immense efforts leading up to IEW, which resulted in an extraordinary film that he edited over the course of four months. The video stood out because it was so thorough in its content and very professional in quality. His audiences have commented that his video and presentations were engaging and informative, and his enthusiasm was tangible. Mohammad’s film can be seen on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/user/MohammadHariri
Photo: Mohammad with his Chemistry class
3rd: This year’s IEW contest had a first this year—a tie for 3rd place! The tie is between Guram Javakhadze (Georgia) and Ameer Saleh (Israel). These two stellar students actually live in the same host family—the Morris family in Uvalde, TX. The boys tied for 3rd because they were really neck-and-neck, both making 17 engaging and informative presentations to a variety of people and both getting featured in both the local newspaper and on local radio! Guram and Ameer have truly made an impact all over Uvalde, bringing understanding of both Israeli and Georgian life and culture, as well as a greater appreciation of international exchange. Their host mother writes, “I am proud they are my sons and am so happy they are a part of my family!”
Photo: Ameer with one of his posters
Photo: Guram at his presentation to a local Day Care.