Alumni of the Month  |  2016-10
November 4, 2016

Advocating for Women’s Health and Wellness in Iraq

Lilav’s hard work, enthusiastic volunteerism, and success in her medical studies combine to form an inspiring role model for other young Iraqis. As an Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP) alumna, Lilav generously shares her newly acquired leadership skills through word and deed.  An active member of the national Iraqi Alumni Network she helps coordinate and present at major events such as, a youth entrepreneurship event focused on empowering, connecting, and enabling budding entrepreneurs. Her outgoing attitude and excellent networking skills have made her a staple on local media, where she speaks via regional and nationwide platforms on youth development programs and youth activism.  Recently, she was featured on Babylon Radio – one of the most popular youth radio shows in the country.  She spoke about her exchange experience and encouraged youth to volunteer in their local communities. 

Lilav is actively involved in volunteer efforts related to women’s health. Upon her return from IYLEP, Lilav applied what she learned by organizing and training a group of women who now provide basic medical and health services to IDP and refugee women living in camps near Erbil, Iraq. She credits IYLEP with helping her, “I strongly think that the skills I learned from IYLEP are helping me translate my own (as well as many others’ vision) into tangible successful results.” This vision includes founding the Women to Women Team (WWT), which raises awareness of social and health issues affecting women through presentations and dissemination of educational materials in Erbil’s middle and high schools. This work is supported by the Canadian Aid Organization (CAOFISR) in collaboration with UNICEF. 
Lilav is also pursuing a medical degree. She passionately advocates for medical ethics in her university curriculum and also spoke about ethical guidelines at the International Federation of Medical Students Association. Lilav cultivated her deep desire for women’s health and clinical studies and her tireless volunteer efforts during her IYLEP exchange experience, “I really don’t believe I would have been able to successfully achieve any of my civil society projects without undertaking the IYLEP USG exchange program. This program changed my life forever.” 
Each month, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Alumni Affairs Division, which supports alumni as they build on their exchange experiences, recognizes one outstanding alumnus or alumna. Lilav is Khani Ihsan is this month’s outstanding alumna, and her work will be recognized throughout October on the International Exchange Alumni website, ECA’s official website which serves more than one million Department-sponsored exchange alumni worldwide.

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