‘Iraqi Safe House of Innovation’ Director to Return for Second IVLP Exchange

October 23, 2018

Four years after his first International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) experience, Husham Al-Thahabi will return to the United States as an IVLP alumnus.

Husham is the Director of Iraqi Safe House of Innovation. Husham credits his initial IVLP on Special Education with helping him protect countless Iraqi orphans from falling victim to child labor abuse, violence, and extremism by providing leading these children toward creativity, art, music, and civic engagement instead. He has been calling on the Iraqi government to enact child labor laws to protect children and provide them safe haven. He continues to try to persuade the government to allow private orphanages to care for the many children who lost their families in the aftermath of ISIS, aware that these children are the most vulnerable targets of terrorism.

His first U.S. visit helped him embrace innovative approaches to reach at-risk youth through education and therapy as well as sports and cultural programs, all of which have greatly increased the success of his organization. His successful treatment program has helped many orphans realize their artistic talents, and several of the orphans have gone on to win national, regional, and international awards. His program model has been adopted in other countries, and he has been invited to speak about his work with orphans in Germany, Finland, Holland, Sweden, Jordan, and the United States.

During his return trip to the United States, Husham will speak at the Diplomacy Begins Here Summit in Miami, Florida, a Global Ties U.S. initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. He will also present to U.S. Department of State staff members on November 6 on how the IVLP shaped his career success.

Throughout his travels to Washington, DC, Seattle, WA, San Diego, CA, and Miami, FL, Husham will meet with psychologists and community leaders to exchange best practices in providing psycho-social support and services for traumatized children, and learn about U.S. efforts to advocate for and support the homeless, the disabled, and at-risk youth.

Follow Husham’s journey on Facebook and Twitter at @StateIVLP.