FAF’s Former Acting Executive Director Dies at 41
It is with great sadness and deep regret that we inform you of the passing of our former Acting Executive Director, Ms. Yin-Chu Jou. She passed away on December 28, 2017. Ms. Jou served as Friendship Ambassadors Foundation’s Artistic Director from 2005 to 2015, and as Acting Executive Director from 2015 to 2016.
A celebrated life full of music, courage, and passion
From being an accomplished classical pianist by profession, Yin-Chu Jou had grown to become a powerful force behind cultural diplomacy through the soft power of the arts.
During her time with Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Yin-Chu had been instrumental to the Foundation’s growth and development over the years. She helped shape the organization’s artistic programming and built upon FAF’s legacy of creating life-changing programs that promote mutual understanding, dialogue, and collaboration among peoples of the world.
Yin-Chu’s most impactful work with FAF encompassed remarkable creativity across various forms of artistic expression. Her passion for promoting goodwill, peace, and unity through music had found its wings when she co-founded the Youth Symphony for the United Nations, which was highly recognized by government leaders and the press for its role in the post-Hurricane Katrina relief. Through this work, she taught us the power of music as a creative tool for social causes.
Her enthusiasm to combine her love of music and cultural diplomacy had led to the production of two exceptional CDs containing classic hits and original compositions sung by UN ambassadors representing different countries around the world – a feat which has never been done before. Her unique achievement showed us that anything is possible if you have a strong willpower to break stereotypes and push boundaries.
Throughout her career, she had received numerous awards, most notably the WCBS Woman of Achievement in 2013 and Musical America’s 30 Professionals of the Year in 2014. Not only was she a woman of immense talents, she had a gift for diplomacy, which she had put to good use to promote FAF’s mission. Her commitment to bringing the organization to new soaring heights has, without a doubt, inspired many.
Undeniably, her time with Friendship Ambassadors Foundation was filled with triumphs and successes. But perhaps her most unforgettable accomplishment was bringing together outstanding choir groups from around the world to celebrate the momentous signing of the United Nations Charter, “We the Peoples”. With a successful 4-year run, The Rhythms of One World International Choral Festival has elevated the role of music as a universal language that promotes intercultural understanding, brotherhood, and peace among nations.
After a decade of serving as Artistic Director, she was appointed by FAF’s Board of Directors as Acting Executive Director in 2015 – a truly significant year in history as the United Nations celebrates its 70th anniversary as an institution. This moment became a mark of her leadership, as she strived to strengthen FAF’s place in the UN community working together for a peaceful and sustainable world.
Described by her colleagues as a woman of action and courage, Yin-Chu would always be remembered through her masterpieces that continually inspire and make an impact in a multitude of ways. She will surely be missed by us all. Her legacy will forever be honored.