WASHINGTON, December 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A diverse group of Arab and American students have been invited to highlight their youth-led initiative on bridging cultures at the Arab Thought Foundation's 9th annual FIKR conference this year. The four students, one American and three Qatari, are alumni of the Qatar Foundation International's (QFI) exchange programs.

Held in Beirut, Lebanon on December 8-9, 2010, FIKR brings together leading cultural, intellectual, economic, humanitarian and political thinkers and leaders in a cross-cultural gathering in the Arab World. Leading world figures from America, Europe and Asia will also be attending along with their Arab counterparts. The FIKR Conference theme for 2010 is "Shaping the Future... Arabs' Role?" with a focus on promoting dialogue and free discussion on pressing issues facing the Arab region.

The students will present to the attendees "YALLAH: Youth Allied to Learn, Lead and Help "- an online forum for former participants in QFI exchange programs to join together for student-driven and expert-facilitated discussions on pertinent global topics and a platform for taking action locally to benefit others. The presentation will demonstrate how they are building a youth-led community of global citizens - male and females, Arabs and non-Arabs - who are able to navigate national differences, dispense with negative stereotypes and build stronger relations with their peers.

"At QFI we are always looking for opportunities to facilitate discussion and connections between diverse groups," said Maggie Mitchell Salem, Executive Director of QFI. "This time our students beat us to it and came up with YALLAH as an exciting and cutting edge way to promote dialogue between youth."

QFI has partnered with Meedan.net, a leader in online social networks that facilitate collaborations across languages, to develop custom hybrid translations on YALLAH's social learning platform, increasing the students' familiarity with both Arabic and English.

About Qatar Foundation International

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) is a private U.S. foundation established on the principle that education can transform for the better individual lives, communities, and nations. Our mission is to promote education as a force that builds strong local communities, facilitates collaboration across geographical, social, and cultural boundaries, and builds a network of global citizens who communicate effectively and work together to find solutions to pressing global problems.

QFI will implement this mission through innovative educational and volunteer programs, which inspire lasting exchanges of experience and knowledge. Our programmatic focus is on interrelated issues of global importance: education, community engagement, technology, and health. QFI's vision is of a world that embraces and respects diversity, values lifelong learning, and empowers individuals to take action to shape their future.

Learn More: http://www.qfi.org


FIKR 9 brings together entrepreneurs, decision-makers, academics and intellectuals to discuss new ways of 'making sense' and 'taking action' to shape the Arab future throughout the region. New possibilities are emerging from a variety of countries, people, technologies and methods that contain early seeds of potential significant transformation throughout the region. These early seeds are the seeds of new capacities, and communities - enabled by:"

- Creativity, - Community, - Entrepreneurship and - Education.

Key to FIKR's vision is to bring to light some of these early seeds of change and help nurture them to greater scale. To that end, FIKR 9 seeks to begin building a community of capacity transformation throughout the region, bringing together people from a wide range of experiences, professions and ages to share their lessons on such capacity building through which the region will be transformed.

Learn More: http://www.fikrconferences.org

SOURCE: Qatar Foundation International

CONTACT: Lauren McCollough, +1-202-255-3575, lmccollough@qfi.org