The Youth Ambassadors Program, created by the U.S. Embassy in Brazil in 2002, has expanded, established important partnerships, served as a basis for other initiatives, crossed borders, and been cited as a best practice at the State Department. As of 2011, it has been replicated in all other Latin-American countries. In addition, with the important support from State Department, the program became a two-way exchange and now includes U.S. Youth Ambassadors who travel abroad as well.
In August 2014, Brazil will once again host a group of U.S. Youth Ambassadors. They will have the chance to learn more about Brazil and its culture and language. While in Brazil they will have Portuguese classes, participate in cultural exchanges and taste the famous Brazilian cuisine, which includes churrasco (barbecue), pão-de-queijo (Cheese-bread), feijoada (black beans and pork), brigadeiro (chocolate dessert) and Guaraná (typical Brazilian soda).
The group is comprised of nine students from DC and the states of Washington, Montana, Oklahoma along with a high school teacher from Seattle and a coordinator from World Learning, the non-profit organization in charge of implementing this two-way exchange program.
The U.S. Youth Ambassadors will participate in a three-week exchange in Brazil along the same lines of the program for Brazilian students going to the U.S. The students will stay in Brasília for three days, where they will participate in an orientation and visit important sites and monuments in the country’s capital. After that, they will be divided in two groups and each will go to a different part of Brazil – one group will go to Franca-SP and one to Juiz de Fora-MG – where they will be hosted by volunteer families, visit schools, give presentations about the U.S. and develop a project on social inclusion and volunteerism. The program of the U.S. Youth Ambassadors is being developed by Binational Centers (BNCs), institutions in Brazil who are officially recognized by the U.S. government for their quality English teaching and their commitment to building the U.S.-Brazil partnership. This year the program is being implemented in the host states by CCBEU/Franca and ACBEU/ Juiz de Fora.
The Brazilian culture will be vastly experienced in these cities and the U.S. Youth Ambassadors will surely have a more comprehensive idea about life as a teenager in Brazil, even if just for a short period of time.
Prior to returning to the U.S., the U.S. Youth Ambassadors will meet again in Rio de Janeiro for a final program evaluation, presentation of their projects and, also, for some interesting social/cultural programming. In addition to interacting with students from public schools, the group will also visit Carlinhos de Jesus’ Dance Center for a tour and samba workshop, and will tour the Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ Redeemer.
The U.S. Embassy in Brazil welcomes the US Youth Ambassadors and is certain that they will have as memorable an experience in Brazil as their Brazilian counterparts have had in the U.S. earlier this year.