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Young Iraqi Leaders Visit Oregon

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Editor’s Note: This show was broadcast live on OPB Plus as well as OPB Radio.

A group of Iraqi students are visiting Oregon for 12 days as part of a State Department program organized locally by the World Affairs Council of Oregon. The visit is one leg of a four-week trip that brings American and Iraqi youth together to learn about social justice and youth activism.

These students are in high school now, which means they were young children when the U.S. first invaded Iraq in 2003. Zahraa Mohammed Obaid, for one, remembers fleeing her home in Baghdad during periods of violence in order to live with family in safer parts of the country.

But others in the group say their lives are now approaching normalcy. One young man, Hasan al-Gamal says now in Iraq, “people are more democratic and liberal, and the country is safe.” He says he still doesn’t fully trust the government, but progress is being made.

Watch the full conversation with Zahraa and Hasan below:

We’ll hear what growing up during the Iraq War was like from the perspective of young Iraqis, and how life has changed for them. What questions do you have for young Iraqis visiting Oregon? 

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