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International Students Get Inspired to Write!

October 10, 2013

As some of you may know, I do a great deal of work with high school age foreign exchange programs. I work almost exclusively with a scholarship program called YES (started right after the 9/11 attacks - targeting relationships with students from predominantly Muslim countries).


This year my Quad Cities students are from Azerbaijan, India, Turkey, Qatar, Kenya, Tanzania, Serbia, Philippines, Pakistan, Senegal, Bahrain, Kuwait, Albania, Morocco and South Africa. If you want more information about this program, write me at


I'm excited to report that two foreign exchange students had experiences with Holocaust education last week that made them want to participate in the book project.



Inge Auerbacher & Sibu 

Sibusiso Nhlapo from South Africa met Jewish Holocaust Survivor Inge Auerbacher in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After a conversation with her, he realized the importance of stories from this time period. Since Inge's story has already been told by a young author, Sibu has started the process of choosing a subject. He is interested in a story about a Jewish survivor named Flóra "Florence" Klein who has a very famous son - Gene Simmons from KISS. Inge will ask around and see if someone she knows happens to know Flora. We hope she may be interested in having her story told by a young author. Congratulations to Inge for receiving the Knight's Cross of Merit from the Republic of Germany this month! Thank you for your work in Holocaust education and tolerance. Read more about Inge at



Rania & Judy Winnick

Rania Ben'z from Morroco was at the Holocaust Teacher's Institute in Rock Island, Illinois last week. Her first session was with Chris Green, an Iowa teacher passionate about teaching History Days. Rania learned about Anne Frank's Iowa pen pal in another session. The keynote speaker preformed a one woman play. Judy Winnick portrayed Irena Sendler, a Polish-Catholic woman who saved 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto. It was an inspirational evening giving Rania a desire to write a children's book for the Human Rights series. Her subject will be Emir Abdel-Kader, a righteous Muslim man from Algeria who is credited with saving 10,000 lives. He was honored by President Abraham Lincoln for his leadership and bravery. Rania was inspired by his story and that he was born near Morocco. The Emir's story is sure to encourage readers of all ages and faiths.  Learn more about him at


I never tire of seeing young people get excited about history and telling stories that will make a difference in the lives of their readers!


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