Maham Yaseen’s year at Roseburg High School came to an end Friday, but on Tuesday she helped raise a peace pole in the courtyard to monumentalize her time as a foreign exchange student.
Yaseen came here from Pakistan and was one of nine foreign exchange students at Roseburg this year.
All of those exchange students were able to get their signature on the peace pole and the words “May peace prevail on earth” in their native language.
In total the words were written in 11 different languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Norwegian, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu and Japanese.
Yaseen was the only exchange student who came to erect the pole in front of a crowd of supporters.
“Our students get to learn about other cultures without leaving home,” Roseburg High School Principal Jill Weber said.
And when asked what she hoped Yaseen and the other foreign exchange students would take away from Roseburg, Weber replied, “Our sense of community. It’s strong and they become a part of Roseburg. I hope they take that feeling back with them.”
Yaseen was the only exchange student in Roseburg who was part of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which was an initiative to build understanding between Americans and people from countries with large Muslim populations.
In addition to Yaseen, Oregon was also visited by students from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Lebanon through the YES program.
AFS-USA, the nonprofit organization that matches students with host families, is still searching for more host families in the area.
For more information on exchange students or hosting a student, AFS Hosting Volunteer Mary Armes can be reached at 541-672-8515.