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Press Release

Arab & American Youth Anti-Terrorism Org. Launches “PeacePals: BFFs Beyond Borders”

WASHINGTON, DC - 21 Feb, 2017 - American and Arab lead youth counter-terrorism organization, Defeating Islamic Radicalization and Extremism (DIRE) today announces ‘PeacePals: BFFs Beyond Borders’ (PPBBB), its newest solution based, ‘soft power’ long-term strategic youth program aimed at sowing seeds to create cross-cultural unity and ultimately combat ideological based extremism.

Over the course of a rolling 90 day period, beginning Sunday, Feb. 26, the elementary school children focused program kicks off in its first pairing of seven nations and seven US states, beginning with Yemen/Tennessee and Somalia/Louisiana. Launching the following week: Iran/Alabama, Iraq/Arkansas, Libya/Kentucky, and Syria/Mississippi, Teachers will be encouraged to keep the program alive beyond the program timeframe.

Participating schools and teachers will be encouraged to have their students, grades K-6, write a first letter of introduction to start the basis of a new friendship across what is expected to be largely Christian and Muslim students, and all students are welcome. Letters in each direction will be sent weekly over the course of 12 weeks (90 days).

PP/BBB will open a channel of communication between elementary girls and boys in order to begin the process of finding common ground and bridge building toward instilling as a natural habit and to prove that the human spirit, particularly that of open minded and resilient youth, can transcend misunderstanding, prejudice, hardship, and chaos.

Beyond the pure nature of the program between youth in the Mid/Far East and USA, the nations and states were selected to draw attention to the fact that any arrivals ban will be nothing more than a prevention exercise that ultimately aims to keep citizens, new arrivals, and friends of the world, safe and secure. In-kind sponsors of creative materials for participating schools in any of the 14 nations/states are sought. Additional nations and states beyond the 14 are encouraged to join the PeacePals effort.

Lisa La Bonte, President of DIRE, believes, “Regardless of any potential 90 day travel ban temporarily affecting citizens of seven nations, if anyone believes for 90 seconds any such action will stop the love and friendship from flowing across borders, they underestimate the spirit and optimism existing in the world, particularly within children.”

Yemeni education expert and PPBBB Project Lead, Dr. Saleh Elzahiri added, "Focusing on solution based programs such as PPBBB could be a shining start point in building bridges between American children and children from the far mid-east nations, which would drive a positive connection between cultures and spread the notion of peace and love among children despite their geographic location, race, or religion."

To learn more about DIRE, its programs, and how you can get involved in being part of the solution, visit:

About Defeating Islamic Radicalization & Extremism (DIRE):

DIRE ( ) is a Washington, DC based not for profit strategic advisory organization creating and implementing programs using a ‘soft power’ approach toward solving global terrorism. With a core understanding that neither military intervention nor law enforcement will ultimately eradicate the underlying causes of ideological based terrorism, DIRE specializes in CVE (countering violent extremism) by focusing efforts on youth, parents, teachers and initiates community bridge-building across cultures toward the prevention of radicalization and terrorism.

DIRE undertakes education, training, cross-cultural exchange, and community building efforts on the ground in at-risk nations in the Middle East, Europe, and USA and is best known for its Global Crises Innovation Solutions Challenge engaging public high school students living in conflict or war zones. DIRE is a spin-off of the Middle East's Arab Youth Venture Foundation.                                                                           

About PeacePals: BFFs Beyond Borders (PPBBB):

With a specific goal of future peace, PPBBB ( ) is a concentrated approach toward the well-known pen-pal concept. The initial 90 day PPBBB program will create impact through the building of new friendships, the learning of new geography, discovery of cultures and customs, insights about peers varying circumstances, and heightened understanding, compassion, and ‘brotherly/sisterly’ love.

The PeacePals (kids), like many pen-pals who came before them, will create lasting memories, many of the new friendships will last a lifetime and open up minds, hearts, and cultural curiosity – and it’s our hope some new BFFs along the journey.

Full News Story:

Distributed by Press Release Jet

Media Contact
Company Name: DIRE - Defeating Islamic Radicalization & Extremism
Contact Person: Lisa La Bonte, or Dr. Saleh Elzahiri (Arabic)
Phone: 202-796-3455, 716-313-5325 (Arabic)
Country: United States

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