WYA Middle East: New Program, New Interns, New Ideas

Almost one year ago, the Middle East office of the World Youth Alliance launched its first internship program with two Lebanese interns and one American intern. Our fourth consecutive program began two weeks ago and has gone a long way from what we were offering at first. Our Director of Operations, Ms. Bruna Kesserwani, has been able to transform the program from "just another internship with administrative tasks" into a true learning process tackling ideas and concepts that have long been ignored in the Arab region. More than half the program is now focused on training the interns on different skills, from management skills to soft skills. Accompanied with the Track A Certified training, the internship has become a perfect environment that encourages young people to apply the values of the World Youth Alliance in their work, projects, and lives.

The quality and diversity of applicants is increasing with every selection process we undertake. This round of interns includes a certified member with a law degree, a Kazak, and a percussionist. We are certain they will contribute substantially to our work over the next three months.

Click here to learn more about our internship program.

Meet the Interns


Akbota was born in Kazakhstan but grew up in the Middle East. She is interested in politics, culture, literature, philosophy, and volunteer work. Her favorite quote is "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" – Evelyn Beatrice Hall

Akbota Kalekenova


After graduating from the American University of Beirut with a B.A. in Political Studies, Carene wanted to contribute to WYA’s mission of preserving human dignity. His favorite quote is “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination” – Nelson Mandela

Carene Kodalazian

Khalil is a Lebanese American and is 21 years old. He is currently studying International Affairs at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Due to his dad’s work, he moved around a lot as a kid and lived in many different countries including Sierra Leone, England, and the US. He loves reading, playing soccer, and music. He considers himself to be someone who is culturally aware and would love to travel the world again someday to meet new people and “lose himself” in new cultures. 

Khalil Dagher


Marie-Line is a Lebanese, recent graduate from Saint Joseph University. She specialized in private Lebanese and French law. She loves discovering new cultures and meeting people from all over the world. She has been part of many non-governmental organizations that are mostly youth based.

Marie-Line Rizk 


Toufic is a recent sociology graduate from AUB. He has been a drummer for 5 years with several bands, the most prominent of which are the Walkabout Drum Circle and Detox. He also has a love for writing and the literary arts and has a minor in creative writing. His favorite authors include Thomas Mann, John Updike, and Oscar Wilde. He is currently working as a translator and a mentor at the Nawaya Network. He firmly believes in the role of art in elevating the perception and well-being of the person. He sees art as more than just a form of entertainment, but rather as a means to influence people and raise their awareness on social and political issues of the day (as opposed to the mainstream digest of sex and love so heralded by today’s ‘artists’). His favorite band is The Smiths for their songs about social justice, domestic abuse, equality, unconventional love, and learning to accept the fact that life is not only meant to be one giant dose of joy.

Toufic Sarieddine