Youth Ambassadors, a U.S. cultural exchange program, celebrated 15 years in Ecuador

Michael J. Fitzpatrick, U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador, with a group of Youth Ambassadors during the graduation celebration and of 15 years of the Youth Ambassadors program in Ecuador.

In addition to the celebration of the 15th anniversary, the 2022 Youth Ambassadors graduated and presented results from the projects they have implemented in their communities. 

Quito, December 28, 2022. The U.S. Department of State’s Youth Ambassadors cultural exchange program celebrated its 15th anniversary in Ecuador. The program, aimed at outstanding high school students from low-income families, has impacted 211 students in Ecuador. In celebration of the 15th anniversary of Youth Ambassadors, more than 100 alumni gathered to share experiences. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Ecuador and administered by World Learning, in partnership with Friends of the Americas and Plan International.  

The projects carried out by the Youth Ambassadors not only help to develop leadership skills in the participants, but also promote the development of their communities. 

For Ángel Granda, participating as a Youth Ambassador in 2019 “was a very educational experience. We went to Miami, [and] from there to Madison and Washington. My community project was to create an art school offering dance and music workshops. I currently provide entrepreneurship workshops on how to create costume jewelry, ceramics, and painting. With a 90% scholarship, I am studying to advance technology in virtual human resources talent management, and I also study medicine in Argentina. In the future, I see myself as [working with] Doctors Without Borders. I want to help in the most remote areas of the country,” shared Ángel.  

Jeidy Flores, 2018 Youth Ambassador, led education workshops in her community on sexually transmitted infections: “I wanted to do something to help people make better decisions about their health and their lives. The program took me to California, Wisconsin, and Washington. This trip was pivotal because it helped me to connect with more people and with the world.  It inspired me to study political science. Then I traveled to Belgium to participate in a youth leadership project. I see a change in me, in my family, and in my community,” she explained.   

In September, the 2022 Youth Ambassadors returned to Ecuador after their three-week exchange in the United States. One week ago, they graduated and presented an informational fair with booths where they shared the results of their community projects in diverse areas such as: combatting gender violence, avoiding water pollution using domestic oil in the production of soaps, preservation of the Shuar culture, teaching English to young children through play, creating recreational spaces for young children who work with their parents in rural areas, and other projects.  

For the United States, educational and cultural exchanges like the Youth Ambassadors help strengthen ties and deepen communication, while allowing participants to better understand the country’s culture, foreign policy, and opportunities.