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Students are participating in a public policy education program run by the University of Massachusetts Civic Initiative

 For Immediate Release

July 22, 2015

Visiting Iraqi scholars to hold fundraiser for the Amherst Senior Center on July 24

Students are participating in a public policy education program run by the University of Massachusetts Civic Initiative

HADLEY – As a fundraising event for the Amherst Senior Center, a group of visiting Iraqi scholars will host a cultural presentation at 8pm on July 24 at Bistro 63 at the Monkey Bar in Amherst. The public is invited and donations will be accepted at the door.

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) participants will share stories of their lives in Iraq through a slide show, singing, dancing and talking with event guests. Every summer since 2010 the University of Massachusetts Civic Initiative, a part of UMass Donahue Institute, has hosted groups of scholars from Iraq as part of a public policy studies program. Since 2012, the visiting groups have assisted the senior center.

“Friday night will be the culmination of several weeks of public policy studies at UMass Amherst and several community involvement activities for the group,” said Michael Hannahan, UMass Civic Initiative Director. “For the last two weeks, the group has gained really valuable hands-on experience with the senior center’s “meals on wheels” program as part of their education about public health policy in the U.S.,” added Hannahan. “Finishing their time in Massachusetts with a fundraiser for the center is a nice send-off for them and way to give back to the community they’ve lived in over the last month.”

Public policy education for group has included courses at UMass Amherst on the many ways public policy affects society. The goal of the program is provide inspiration to the program participants to affect social change in their home country. The IYLEP visits are sponsored the U.S. State Department.

The University of Massachusetts Civic Initiative is dedicated to promoting democracy through education in both the U.S. and abroad. Each summer, the Civic Initiative brings a select group of students, scholars and professionals from around the world to the UMass Amherst campus for courses that examine modern politics and public policy as well as community-based, collaborative projects that offer practical, real-life experience. The summer of 2015 has included visitors from over 20 countries.

The University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute is the public service, outreach and economic development group of the University of Massachusetts President's Office. Established in 1971, the Institute strives to connect the Commonwealth with the resources of the University, bridging theory and innovation with real world public and private sector applications. For more information,

CONTACT:  Ken LeBlond, Marketing Communications Manager, UMass Donahue Institute,, (413) 545-3452.

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