Program and Events
2012 Youth Ambassadors Luncheon
July 26, 2012
Belize-Michigan Partners, the Belize Chapter of Partners of the Americas, is embarking on an exchange program between youth from Belize and the United States of America. On Monday, July 23, they brought together 13 Belizean Youth Ambassadors and 10 American Youth Ambassadors and their adult mentors to a lunch hosted by the U.S. Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally.
The Youth Ambassador program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, implemented internationally by Partners of the Americas and locally by the Belize-Michigan Partners. The program started in 2002 to build mutual understanding among youth in the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean. It has since expanded into a leadership program for youth and their peers. Youth spend three weeks abroad engaging with local government and civic organizations, building relationships with host families and other youth, visiting schools and non-profit organizations, and participating in skills-based training that enable and empower them to mobilize their communities towards positive change. Upon returning to their home countries, they use what they have learned during their time abroad to design and implement service projects that benefit their communities.
The American Youth Ambassadors are in Belize until August 5, travelling throughout the country to learn about leadership, community service, and Belizean Culture. Prior to arriving in Belize, the group convened in Washington, D.C. for a week of orientation. The Youth Ambassadors are expected to enjoy the hospitality of their Belizean host families. The American youth will also interact with peers in their host families and at community service sites, giving them the opportunity to share their culture with local youth.
In September, the Belizean Youth Ambassadors and two mentors, selected from throughout Belize, will visit the United States. They will be engaged in similar experiences when they go to the United States for three weeks. Both American and Belizean Youth Ambassadors were chosen in an open competition of youth between 15 and 18 years old who have outstanding school records, display leadership qualities and have demonstrated an interest in improving their local communities.