Open your Heart, Open your Mind, and Open the World!


International Focus is hosting three Youth Leadership Programs this summer. Please help us welcome our young guests and create a unique cross-cultural friendship for the whole family!

The objective of the leadership programs is to promote mutual understanding between the people of the USA and Iraq and to inspire and create a new generation of globally-minded leaders.

This unique program facilitates the youth’s interaction with American peers and families, provides service learning activities at universities and other organizations, and fosters the creation of a service project to implement upon returning to their home lands. The students also participate in cultural outings, social gatherings, and recreational activities, further widening their horizons and deepening their understanding of the US and its people.

We are in need of families to host our guests (one to two per household) for all or part of the duration of their visit. Host families are asked to provide breakfast and dinner daily, a place to sleep, and weekday transportation to and from a designated location, probably near Whole Foods, Wade Ave. in Raleigh or Cary Towne Centre in Cary. Host families are free to entertain their guests as they please for the weekends during thevisit, and host families and siblings are welcome to participate in all program activities.

 Host families receive a full year of International Focus membership.

Read a host father’s thoughts on his experience.


Groups and Dates:

  • Iraq I: July 10 to 24, 2019
  • Iraq II: August 12 to 26, 2019

Please CONTACT MARIA ADOSKINA  for more information or to sign up as a host. THANK YOU for helping create our next generation of global leaders!

For our family, hosting students from Iraq and Mexico has been a priceless gift.  My children have learned about their cultures, dreams and hopes; and our host children have learned that they will always have a home and family in the U.S.  Each year, we excitedly wait for the email letting us know who is our host child to plan what we would like to show him/her about our city and surroundings.

Ana Gomez Rindahl

“Our family has hosted Iraqi students through the Youth Leadership Program for a number of years and have enjoyed the experience tremendously.  The young men and women that have stayed at our home have been thoughtful, inquisitive, and open to many new experiences.  We feel honored to be able to provide a chance for them to know “real” Americans and for us to learn more about their culture. We still keep in contact with our “temporary children” and love to see how they are becoming leaders in their own lives.”

Kristen Hoyle

“East host child has brought joy, life-long enrichment, and great experiences to our family.  These experiences are valuable, especially nowadays when the world needs more peace, kindness and respect among all of us.  It’s our way to learn and share the story of us, the story of our country, one hosting experience at the time.”

Ana Gomez Rindahl

Many thanks to Abdulah B-Taha alBayati for his wonderful photosof last year’s Iraqi Youth Leadership Program participants and their host families.