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Belizean Youth Ambassadors in Washington Print E-mail
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Thursday, 05 April 2018 00:00

Nine lucky Belizean students, along with a mentor, Golda Mejia, were selected as a team of Youth Ambassadors to travel to different parts of the United States of America to participate in a three-week long leadership program. The Youth Ambassadors Program is a U.S. Department of State sponsored, youth exchange, designed to strengthen the leadership skills of young people from Central America and the United States. This multi-national exchange also builds bonds of friendship and understanding between people of Central America, the Dominican Republic, and people of the United States.

The leadership program is held at Georgetown University. The  Georgetown Center for Intercultural Education and Development, designed the Youth Ambassadors program. It offers talented youth from Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama between the ages of 15 and 18 the opportunity to travel to the United States to develop their leadership skills and expand their knowledge of U.S. culture and society. Since 2010, a total of 62 students have been a part of this initiative. The program started in 2010 under the grantee Youth Business Trust and in 2011, it was granted to the Belize Family Life Association.

During the three-weeks, students participate in activities focused on community development, environment, and entrepreneurship. The experience not only enhances their skills and knowledge but it also prepares them for a life of leadership and service. The students are offered sufficient time for face-to-face interaction which builds the connection between Central Americans and U.S. citizens.

Before the students and their mentor left, the Public Affairs Section conducted a pre-departure briefing where the staff discussed what the students are to expect while traveling along with other necessary information. The students left on March 22, 2018 and are expected to return to the country on April 12. The program is held all year long and Belize is a part of the second set to travel to the U.S. as a part of the program along with youth representatives from El Salvador and Honduras. The first set of youth ambassadors were representatives from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama.

So far, our Belizean representatives along with their Salvadoran and Honduran colleagues have toured Washington D.C., have visited the U.S. Department of State, and have participated in cultural presentations and other forms of recreation.