Acting Executive Director
New York City-based concert pianist, artist, and international concert tours & festival producer Yin-Chu Jou was commended by The New York Times in 2006: “Classical pianist Yin-Chu Jou and the Youth Symphony for United Nations travel and play for peace, to promote world peace through music, to find a way to add a social element to musical performance.” Two-time soloist of the Manila Youth Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s and Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concertos (1995, 1998), Recently awarded Musical America’s 2014 Top Professionals of the Year- “Profiles in Courage: Innovators and Risktakers” as producer of the Rhythms of One World Festival, and “2013 Woman of Achievement” by WCBS Newsradio 880 for her “peace through the arts” work.
Since 2005, Yin-Chu has been serving as Artistic Director of Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc. (FAF), where she organizes and develops all of FAF’s artistic programming worldwide including international music exchanges, others of which involve dance, theater or other related art forms– its Feel the Music! Project for the families of the victims of 9/11 (2005), Youth Symphony for United Nations (2007-2009), and The Rhythms of One World International Choral Festival (2012, 2013: New York City, 2014: Geneva, Switzerland; 2015: New York City). In 2013, Yin-Chu produced the Ambassadors Sing for Peace CD that brought together 5 Ambassadors to the UN (Canada, Cabo Verde, Costa Rica, Nauru, Romania) to record an album of world-peace themed covers to promote world peace through music.
Ms. Jou has been appointed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors as Acting Executive Director on September 29, 2015. Her first projects in her new role include the debut single recording as well as CD production and launch of the new band UNRocks Music Group comprised of sitting Ambassadors to the UN of Denmark, Kingdom of Thailand, Kingdom of Tonga, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Romania, and members of the UN Secretariat (Fall 2015), the exhibit Glamour & Giving: Photography by Rose Hartman (Winter 2016), and others.
Former Secretary General Kofi Annan, Senator Hillary Clinton (NY), Congresswoman Nita Lowey (NY) and Congressman Christopher Shays (CT) has formally endorsed Yin-Chu’s peace-through-the-arts work at FAF. Ms. Jou was recognized as Finalist of the Taiwan Junior Chamber International 44th Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award in 2006 and was key organizer of the Greenwich, CT (USA)-Vienne (France) Sister-Cities Celebration in Paris and Vienne (2008).
Ms. Jou’s work as a pianist was featured as centerfold articles by the Rye Sound Shore Review and The Harrison Report (07/2005) titled “Abundant Virtue” as its focal point to suggest her role in the world for the welfare of people through music. The Rye Sound Shore Review hailed Yin-Chu’s work with and as co-founder of the Youth Symphony for United Nations as “Classical Pianist Spread Peace and Unity through the Music of Youth” (12/2005). The Greenwich Citizen in a full-page article reported her work in Louisiana post-Hurricane Katrina at a FEMA trailer camp and Common Ground rescue site “Music is the medium; friendship is the message” (08/2006). The US Senate presented Yin-Chu and the Youth Symphony a Certificate of Appreciation “In Honor of Your Dedication to Uplifting Our Youth” on June 2007. In the same year, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin proclaimed the 28th of June “a day in honor of the Youth Symphony and Youth Band for its bringing New Orleans back through its concert to aid evacuees of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita” which The Journal News described as “using music to lift the spirits of people still recovering from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.” The Times Picayune cited her work “to be part of a United Nations mission is even more awe-inspiring, bringing along over 70 orchestral and band instruments to donate to youths in Louisiana who lost theirs during the storm.”
Ms. Jou has performed extensively, including a three-part Classical concert series presented by The Greenwich Arts Council, at The Wainwright House in Rye, New York, the Amadeus Conservatory of Music, the 2000 International Piano Festival in Spain, the Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation’s 2011 Young Artist Series, and Peace Philharmonic Philippines Foundation, Inc. She was the featured artist during the 40th Anniversary celebration of the United Nations Women’s Guild at UN Headquarters in New York, where she shared the stage with current First Lady and wife of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek and the former UN Women’s Guild President Tsu-Wei Chang. Her performances had been described as “expressive”, “beautiful” and “compelling”, and “her piano-playing makes the keys sound golden.”
Taiwanese in descent and raised in the Philippines, Ms. Jou is an alumna of the Manhattan School of Music with a post-graduate Professional Studies degree in Piano Performance, Master of Music in Piano Performance at the University of the Philippines College of Music, and St. Scholastica’s College Bachelor of Music magna cum laude honors.
Financial Analyst and Accounts Manager
Yan Yu Li joined Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc in 2008. Yan Yu is Friendship Ambassadors Foundation’s Financial Analyst and Accounts Manager. She has overseen the development and facilitation for several major projects at the Foundation: The Rhythms of One World, Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations, Emerging Global Leaders Seminar (Fairleigh Dickinson University), and is the financial advisor of the Executive Director on most financial issues and, especially, on all development issues relating to China (which is a major area of development for the foundation from 2008 to the present). She also reports financial status of the foundation to the Board of Directors on a regular level. Ms. Li works with Mr. Izquierdo to lead FAF’s large intern population each year. Yan Yu has been working in finance for several years since she received her M.B.A. with concentration in accounting and finance from the University of Bridgeport.
Project Manager & Intern Coordinator
Since 2009, Greenwich resident Victor Izquierdo has grown from an intern to holding a management position within Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc. Mr. Izquierdo is currently Project Manager and Intern Coordinator. Victor has helped to develop FAF’s Service Ambassadors Program and assists in organizing FAF projects including global cultural exchanges and the Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations. He is FAF’s Project Coordinator for the Ecuador Service Project. Prior to joining FAF, Victor worked as a customer banker at Commerce Bank. Victor Izquierdo holds a B.A. in International Studies from Fairfield University and a Professional Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Jeanina Casusi graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines. Her involvement with Friendship Ambassadors Foundation started with an internship during the Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations in 2014. Towards the end of 2014, she began working for the foundation as its Communications Coordinator, managing content generation, design, and brand consistency in all electronic and print communications. She believes that effective communication can serve as a catalyst for change, especially in pursuit of a more sustainable development.
Drotman and Sawkiw, Accounting Firm, NGO Focus