Hi, my name is Yusra and I’ve recovered from my quarter life crisis…finally. I discovered that here in Tripoli, 8 months after my 25th birthday, some time before the August 20th celebration of Libya’s Youth Day. As a Libyan-American I visit Libya often, but up until this summer I never took the initiative to really get to know it; it takes strength to dig up the details that describe the character of a nation, and in Libya you have to look past the Mediterranean or the political landscape, but into the lives of everyday people, passing the time drinking tea on lazy afternoons, waiting for someone to tell their story. I was reminded of why Libya is a westerner’s opportunity throughout my visit this year, first as a participant in trip to My Homeland, a program that aims to reconnect Libyans abroad with their roots, and then as a volunteer at The National Libyan Youth Council, where I built relationships with young Libyan men and women as we planned the first international Libyan Youth Conference in honor of The United Nation’s Declaration of 2010 as ‘The Year of Youth.’ At the conference I met an American businessman from Missouri who negotiating a deal to build 20,000 new homes for Libyan youth, one of the reform initiatives sponsored by Dr. Seif al Islam al Gaddafi. I met young Americans who were active youth leaders in their community, and excelled at top Universities such as Georgetown and MIT. But what stood out most was not that there were so many young people from around the world in Tripoli, but that Libya is finally recovering, from a crisis that is not easy to define, but is intertwined with the opening of an American Embassy, and the normalization of U.S relations which is evident in the growing number of Americans who venture over to Tripoli in search of an opportunity to discover a country arguably still isolated, but friendly. I look forward to describing Libya the way I see it, as an American, as a Libyan, as a woman, as a Muslim. I want to thank everyone at WBEZ for giving me the opportunity to connect with Natalie, by telling the stories of women I hope we will also show what two women from America can discover in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Sincerely, Yusra Ali Tekbali
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