Our Story

For over 45 years, we have facilitated youth exchange, development, and action for global change.

Our mission is to empower youth to become the leaders and changemakers who will strive together to create a sustainable world free of war, oppression, exclusion, and poverty. Through a worldwide network, programs, and services, we are harnessing the power of friendship as a catalyst for greater understanding, shared learning, and sustainable action.

  • A global convener

    “It is a great pleasure to greet the participants in the 2009 Youth Assembly at the United Nations. I thank Friendship Ambassadors Foundation… [for] making this event possible. The world needs you to make the most of this gathering.”

    A global convener
    Ban Ki-moon
    Former United Nations Secretary General
  • An advocate for peace

    “Our wonderful trip to Romania and Bulgaria with FAF was a positive, life-changing cultural and social experience. I truly believe that the values, goals, and accomplishments of FAF are critical to world peace.”

    An advocate for peace
    Dr. Lyn Schenbeck
    Director of Choral and Orchestral Activities, Agnes Scott College
  • A leader in cultural exchange

    “On the wonderful work that Friendship Ambassadors is accomplishing, I commend you for your leadership in promoting cultural exchange between people both young and old around the world. Hillary joins me in sending her best wishes.”

    A leader in cultural exchange
    Bill Clinton
    Former US President

Our History

Harnessing the power of friendship to change the world

by Andrew Macdonald
Over sixty years ago, a young 19-year-old had a life-changing experience that would lead to him to impact the lives of tens of thousands and arguably change the world.

In 1953, Harry W. Morgan traveled to Holland during one of the most cataclysmic events that country had ever experienced, a flood that resulted in the evacuation of…

Organizational Highlights

  • 1958

    Ambassadors for Friendship Program

    Our origins go back in 1958 when Fulbright Scholar Harry Morgan founded a program that facilitated international travel and cultural exchange, supported in large part by Lila and DeWitt Wallace, founders of Reader’s Digest.

  • 1961

    Kofi Annan joins Ambassadors for Friendship

    Harry Morgan’s first group of four “Ambassadors for Friendship” traveled over 50,000 miles and saw the US as it truly was – the good and the bad. One of the four participants was Kofi Annan, a young student from Ghana who went on to become the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations. 

  • 1971

    Ambassadors for Friendship promotes East-West relations through choir concerts

    A U.S. choir group composed of 120 singers from three New Jersey schools (members of the Rutgers University Glee Club and the Montclair and Highland Park High School choirs) toured Czechoslovakia through Ambassadors for Friendship, which used to be an arm of the American Council for Nationalities Service. The council began a half-century ago to help immigrants and more recently to bring foreign students to the United States.

  • 1973

    Friendship Ambassadors Foundation

    Fifteen years later, we became an independent foundation that cultivated international affiliations and representation through youth capacity-building and cultural exchange.

  • 1984

    Concert tours

    FAF was conducting over 42 ensembles comprising 2,000 participants from 23 states touring 12 countries.

  • 1975

    President Gerald Ford meets with Romanian Choirs through Friendship Ambassadors

    The Romanian cultural delegations were greeted by President Ford at the White House, where they delivered a personal message from President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania to President Ford. Harry Morgan, the founder of the Friendship Ambassadors, introduced the Romanians to President Ford. Mr. Morgan was the first American to be awarded the “Order of Cultural Merit” from President Ceausescu for his work in developing friendship and expanding cultural relations with Romania.

  • 2001

    Work during 9/11

    Our previous collaborations included significant programs that aim to help heal families of victims of terror, particularly communities where cultural strengthening with the U.S. is critical. These programs were focused on regions emerging from natural or man-made disasters, one of which received national recognition for our work with 9/11 families.

  • 2002

    Finding New Hope

    One of our past programs, Finding New Hope, received $3.1 million from American Red Cross, Hitachi, and Rotary International, and included signature funding of over $1.6 million from the Lions Clubs International Foundation.

  • 2004

    The Youth Assembly

    As a response to the growing need for youth representation in global dialogues, Friendship Ambassadors Foundation inaugurated The Youth Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Over the next decade, the program continues to attract thousands of applications twice a year and receive support and endorsements from UN member states, civil society organizations, and socially responsible corporations.

  • 2008

    UNESCO Consultative Status

    Friendship Ambassadors Foundation began an official partnership with UNESCO to collaborate on the implementation of its activities and programs.

  • 2012

    The Rhythms of One World

    The Rhythms of One World International Choral Festival held its first series of concerts in 2012 to celebrate the founding of the United Nations Charter, “We the peoples”. Until its last run in 2015, the festival brought together adult and children’s choirs from various parts of the world for a weeklong series of choral performances at many prestigious venues in New York City and Geneva, including the UN General Assembly Hall, Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, and Victoria Hall.

  • Service Ambassadors

    At the direct request of the local indigenous Shuar community, we have facilitated a service program in 2012 where students in the U.S. participated in the construction of a locally managed cultural center. The Service Ambassadors Program became one of our impactful initiatives as we continue to support their efforts in building a stronger community in Ecuador.

  • 2015

    UN ECOSOC Consultative Status

    In 2015, FAF was officially granted with UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Special Consultative Status. This, along with our Consultative Status with UNESCO, adds a new dimension to our global recognition and advances our contribution to the work of the United Nations. 

  • 2016

    Outstanding Youth Delegate Awards

    Friendship Ambassadors Foundation announced the Outstanding Youth Delegate Awards, which aims to recognize the work of exceptional youth selected among hundreds of delegates attending The Youth Assembly from around the world.

  • 2017

    Ambassadors Program

    The Ambassadors Program, which began as a campus-oriented opportunity for former delegates of The Youth Assembly, was created to promote youth engagement and participation and increase awareness and support for youth and other critical issues tackled at The Youth Assembly among local communities.

  • 2018

    Impact Challenge

    Friendship Ambassadors Foundation launched our first-ever Impact Challenge, which mobilizes youth to propose and enact meaningful, socially-responsible projects that address social, economic, and environmental issues around the world.

  • Pathways to Impact Program

    With our goal of building a movement of active young leaders and changemakers, Friendship Ambassadors Foundation began an initiative to appoint Impact Facilitators in various regions around the world to provide mentorship support to Delegates, connect them to essential resources, foster an environment of collaboration among them, and promote their impactful work through FAF’s wide networks.

  • 2019

    Present