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University students from other countries are an untapped resource that could help Utahns to understand other cultures, governments and peoples.

The recently created International Youth Advisory Council will draw on that resource to promote awareness and friendship, said Jeannene Barham, executive director of One World Through Youth.The organization works with school children to develop assistance programs and exchanges that help youngsters appreciate the one-world concept. The international council is an extension of the concept to involve college-age youth, she said.

"We want to get students together to promote awareness and friendship," Barham said. The council also will be a resource to the public schools, tying the two elements of the program together.

Each year, an International Day will be promoted in Utah schools, and the college students will participate in these events, including helping with planning. Joyce Hansen of the State Office of Education has been enlisted to help develop the program.

Five monetary awards will be presented to schools with the most effective programs, Barham said.

At the initial meeting of the youth advisory council, international students from Utah State University, Brigham Young University, University of Utah, Southern Utah State College, Weber State College, Westminster College, LDS Business College and Utah Valley Community College were represented.

Council members are from such diverse countries as Indonesia, India, Iran, Latin America, Norway, China, Panama, Taiwan, Japan, France, Switzerland, Jordan, Spain and Colombia.

More than 3,000 students from other countries currently attend institutions of higher education in Utah.

"We're not learning from them as much as we could," Barham said. On the other side of the coin, many of these students don't interact much with Utahns although they are attending schools here. One student had never been inside the home of a Utah family during several years of school.

The council hopes to develop a speakers' bureau that will be available to schools and other community groups.

"The world has become so small through technology and the media, children need to understand they are part of a worldwide family," said Barham.