Youth Ambassador Program draws to a close

45 Students and eight teachers from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada recently completed the Youth Ambassador Program: Trilateral North America, a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau. The program consisted of two three-week exchanges to Mexico and the U.S. facilitated by Sister Cities International.

From June 24 to July 14, a delegation from Modesto, Culver City, and Los Angeles, California representing the U.S. traveled to Mexico. During their visit, participants learned about community-based and state-run organizations working to address problems related to poverty and the environment. The second week of the trip was spent in homestays in Aguascalientes and Mexico City, sister cities of Modesto and Los Angeles, respectively. Through a series of workshops during the exchange students developed community specific projects to address issues related to the environment and poverty in their hometowns.

The second half of the Youth Ambassadors program from July 18 – August 7 consisted of a five-day summit in Los Angeles on the campus of University of California Los Angeles, a week long homestay in Modesto, Culver City, and Los Angeles, and a weeklong visit to Washington, D.C. at the American University campus. The Mexican delegation was composed of students and teachers from Uruapan, Michoacan, Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes and Mexico City. The Canadian group represented Lethbridge, Alberta, Vernon, British Columbia and Vancouver, British Columbia. The U.S. group was made up of participants from Culver City, Modesto, and Los Angeles, California. During the exchange students and teachers worked together with Sister Cities International staff to develop their community specific projects to address and issue related to poverty or the environment.

The exchange was a once in a life time experience for many of the students. Students and adults got to experience new cultures, meet new friends, and learn about their own countries. In addition to creating lasting friendships they will be taking what they experienced during the exchange and translating it into action in their own communities.