We hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe during these unprecedented times. We are experiencing a very challenging moment in our history as a global pandemic impacts the world in so many ways. From our families, our schools, our businesses, to our healthcare workers around the world – the COVID-19 crisis affects us all.
As the situation evolves, we take comfort in knowing that acts of kindness and solidarity among people are taking place everywhere. Indeed, we are stronger when we look out for each other and work together as a global community.
Amid changes and uncertainties, it has never been more important to recognize our shared humanity and our connection with the world. It is in this spirit that we are bringing to you the first edition of the Friendship Ambassadors (FA) Newsletter, in our continuous effort to build, support, and engage our growing community of Friendship Ambassadors.
In this first edition, we hope to accomplish the following:
- Create better awareness of the work we do. Did you know that beyond the Youth Assembly, there are other ways you can get involved with FA to make a difference in your community? Through this newsletter, you will be up-to-date with the latest information on programs, campaigns, events, and partnerships that support global development through youth leadership and participation.
- Foster a greater sense of community. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to host and organize 25 sessions of the Youth Assembly since 2004, which led to the tens of thousands of peace advocates, social entrepreneurs, volunteers, leaders, and changemakers that make up our community spanning over 100 countries. Not to mention countless many other alumni who have participated in our cultural exchange programs in our nearly 50 years of existence. The newsletter will be a place to showcase people from our community and facilitate connection and exchange of useful insights and inspiring stories between and among Friendship Ambassadors.
- Learn from our community through feedback. What better way to fuel innovation than by encouraging feedback? We have seen this first hand as we improve the Youth Assembly year after year by paying attention to what matters most: the voice of young people. The newsletter will have a space not only to collect feedback on its content, but also gather thoughts from the community.
Friendship takes a front seat:
Since the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation started in 1973, “Friendship” has always been the centerpiece of our mission. When we launched the Youth Assembly in 2004, it slowly lost its prominence in how people thought about us. This was certainly not intended, because the Youth Assemblies became a leading forum for young people to build some lifelong friendships. We still hear from delegates about how many new global friendships they have formed as a result of attending a Youth Assembly. Over the last year, the FA team reflected deeply about this. We recognized the strong interconnectedness of young people around the world, and visibly saw how important real friendship was at the Youth Assemblies and how much it is needed in the world today. As a result, we determined that it was crucial to bring Friendship back to the forefront.
We are pleased to say that we recently took two major steps in that direction. First, we created the Friend of Humanity award to recognize outstanding alumni that have become exemplary in the work they are doing. Second, this past February, all attendees and delegates to the 25th session of the Youth Assembly have been recognized as Friendship Ambassadors. This is a step towards a vision of a world where thousands of Friendship Ambassadors are united under a common commitment to promoting friendship as a catalyst for creating a better world for all people. As Woodrow Wilson the creator of the League of Nations once said, “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” We believe our Friendship Ambassadors will be the cement by which we will build the FA Community, and it will help define a growing number of young people who see the world as one global community striving to make the world great for all people.
We hope you sense the theme of Friendship throughout this newsletter. We are a community that genuinely cares about people and the planet. This FA Newsletter is designed with our Theory of Change in mind hoping to provide connection and encourage engagement, facilitate learning and knowledge-sharing, and showcase action and impact. However, a newsletter is only as good as it is useful to the reader. We’ve included a brief survey for you and would appreciate any feedback you would like to offer. We hope you enjoy reading. We’re already planning the next one.