History of Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc.
Founded by Fulbright Scholar Harry Morgan and well-respected travel professional Cappy Devlin, Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc. (FAF) has facilitated international travel and exchange programs as an independent foundation since 1973 – and for more than 15 years prior to that as an informal program supported in large part by Lila and DeWitt Wallace (founders, Readers Digest). Since its inception, FAF has cultivated international affiliations and representation in order to fulfill its mission to promote Youth Leadership capacity-building opportunities and Peace Through Cultural Exchange. Since 1993, the organization has been led under the consistent direction of Patrick Sciarratta as Executive Director.
FAF pioneered cultural exchange with American arts ensembles: in 1984, we prepared the first American performance exchange with China, and during the Cold War, we worked to open channels of communication between the United States (US) and the so-called Communist Block. In the 1990’s, the Foundation was in the forefront of youth reconciliation efforts during the Balkan Wars. The Balkan Youth Reconciliation Seminar Series was designated a Flagship Project of UNESCO’s International Year for the Culture of Peace. FAF is currently a Partner in Operational Relations with UNESCO, and formally associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information.
FAF’s respect as a trainer for youth leaders interested in capacity-building, service, and international affairs is garnered through the work of its director, Patrick Sciarratta. Patrick is on faculty at Purchase College (SUNY) and regularly invited to address youth leadership issues worldwide. In 2011, he was invited by King Mohammed VI to the Fez Conference of Noble Laureates to address skill building for youth leaders and then afterwards to the Arab League Youth Leadership Workshop in Cairo, Egypt, helping to build skills for youth leaders recently involved with what has been called the “Arab Spring.” FAF’s Artistic Director, Ms. Yin-Chu Jou, was invited in 2011 as a guest of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to its Pre-Forum in Doha, Qatar to translate FAF’s success into new ways for UN AOC to build its own success in bringing together global communities of interest.
The Foundation's rich history includes significant collaborations to help heal families of victims of terror, with a strong focus on communities throughout the world where cultural strengthening with the US is critical. FAF has focused on regions emerging from natural or man-made disasters and received national recognition for its work with 9/11 families in particular. In 2002, our project, Finding New Hope, received $3.1M from American Red Cross, Hitachi, and Rotary International, and included signature funding of over $1.6M from the Lions Clubs International Foundation.
FAF Programs Include: Arts-based service programming in New Orleans (FAF and local Fairfield youth received two days named in their honor for public service by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, with special commendation by the US Senate); the creation of the Greenwich/Vienne, Sister City relationship (where hundreds of Fairfield residents have been able to travel to and host sister city members); the annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations™; Youth Symphony for United Nations; and Youth Band for United Nations (led for several years by Greenwich High School music teacher John Yoon and comprised of Fairfield youth). FAF is also proud of its many formal affiliations with a long list of non-governmental organizations, placing the Foundation in a unique position as it pursues its mission.
FAF programs have included many well-known participants throughout the past four decades, including United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, author Alex Haley, Mother Teresa, Senator Jay Rockefeller, President Vaclav Havel, three American astronauts, Reverend Jesse Jackson, social entrepreneur Kathy Ireland, Dr. Arun Gandhi – the list goes on and on. However, the Foundation is most proud of the tens of thousands of private citizens and the millions of lives that have been touched and changed by the participation, engagement, and exchange our public projects engender.