2013-14 Youth Ambassadors Program
The Youth Ambassadors Program brings together outstanding young people between the ages of 15 and 18 from across the Americas for an enrichment program to promote mutual understanding, increase leadership skills, and prepare youth to make a difference in their communities.
Students and teachers or community leaders from across the globe participate in a three-week exchange in the United States focused on civic education, community service, and youth leadership development. Participants stay with host families, attend workshops on leadership and service, and take part in community site visits, interactive training, project planning exercises, presentations, visits to high schools, local cultural activities with other teenagers, and civic education programs. The group usually spends approximately two weeks in one or two states state before traveling to Washington, D.C. for closing program activities.
This program allows youth to serve as "ambassadors" of their own country and encourages them to become active and engaged citizens through service. Follow-on activities are an integral part of the program, as the students apply the knowledge and skills they gained from the exchange to plan and implement service projects in their home communities.
Participants are competitively selected high school students who have demonstrated leadership aptitude and an interest in community service; exhibit flexibility, maturity, integrity, good social skills, and open-mindedness; have the motivation necessary to be active and successful exchange participants; and will attend at least one more semester of secondary school after the exchange program. The youth participants are accompanied by adult mentors.
Youth Ambassadors began as an initiative of U.S. Embassy Brasilia in 2002, and has been managed by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs since 2009. Under ECA's leadership, the program has expanded regionally to include youth from 25 Western Hemisphere countries and the United States. Approximately 400 participants per year take part in the program.
Under ECA's leadership, the program has grown substantially in recent years and continues to grow. Now, more than 400 Youth Ambassadors from 25 countries throughout the Americas participate in the program each year. 2012 was the first year Guyana participated in the program.
On March 1, 2012, the Youth Ambassador Program (YAP) was launched for the first time in Guyana. The YAP is a three-week cultural and leadership exchange program for secondary school student leaders to visit the United States. In September 2012, 11 students and 2 mentors participated in the first round of the Youth Ambassadors Program, where they visited Washington, D.C. and Laramie, Wyoming. Youth Ambassadors and Mentors participated in activities that focused on civic education, community service, and youth leadership development. They engaged in a variety of activities including dialogue sessions, interactive site visits, experiential workshops, leadership training, team-building exercises, outdoor adventures, community service projects, cultural excursions, and a homestay. Alumni returned to Guyana to begin developing projects which will serve the needs of their communities.
A group of four Youth Ambassadors and one mentor visited Denver Colorado in February 2013 on the first of three delegated trips for the years 2013-2014. The other two visits are planned for October 2013 and February 2014.
All downloadable documents on this page are provided in PDF format. To view PDFs you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may download a free version by clicking the link above.