Eighteen graduating high school seniors from the Middle East and North Africa will visit the University of Notre Dame Aug. 4 (Wednesday) as part of a new U.S. Department of State program created to help foster better understanding between the United States and the Middle East.p. A first-of-its-kind endeavor, the 2004 Summer Institute on American Life and Youth Leadership is a collaboration also involving Purdue and Indiana Universities. It provides a glimpse of American political, social, cultural and economic life for students from countries and territories such as Bahrain, Egypt, West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Israel and Yemen.p. While at Notre Dame, the students, selected for their leadership potential, will hear a presentation on inter-religious cooperation at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, tour the Center for Social Concerns, and visit the Islamic Society of Michiana, where young Arab Americans will discuss their experiences.p. In order to build peace in the Middle East, religious conflict needs to be discussed,said A. Rashied Omar, coordinator of the Kroc Institute Research Initiative on the Resolution of Ethnic Conflict and the Program in Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding.Our inter-religious workshops will focus on how we can make peace across religious and cultural traditions. The students’ visit to the Kroc Institute will provide them a firsthand experience of how they can be part of the peace- building process.p. The students are based through Aug. 22 at Purdue, where they have been attending political science, sociology and U.S. history classes. They also will meet with faculty from Indiana Universitys Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department and Kelley School of Business.p. _Contact: Julie Titone, director of communications for the Kroc Institute, 574-631-8819, firstname.lastname@example.org _ p.