Sometimes the best of intentions can go awry.
The joint U.S.-Iraqi venture called the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program is an example of lofty goals coupled with poor execution.
The IYLEP was designed to bring college-age Iraqi students to visit the U.S. for six weeks to foster understanding of western political ideas and one another.
The problem is, at the end of their visit, they returned to an embattled nation in which touting western ideas near the ears of some extremists could spell their deaths.
Since the premise of the program inherently endangers these students, one would expect a high level of security to be in place to keep them from harm, but that is not the case.
Though college media, such as the Collegian, received requests from program coordinators to use pseudonyms in place of the students’ real names and to remove any telling details about the students, student interviews with major news outlets were not off-limits, according to the U.S. Department of State.
In fact, information about when and where the students would be speaking with political figures such as John Kefalas (R-Colo.) was accessible via a press release.
With information that could potentially allow the identification of these students freely flowing around the world via the Internet, protections need to be in place to ensure their safety.
The IYLEP is a good effort at bridge building between two nations that desperately need to understand each other, but the safety of the students involved needs to come first.