We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
Over the holiday season while many of us prepped big family dinners and finished our last minute shopping, our Unofficial Ambassadors were hard at work delivering community presentations to share their stories of partnership building and tolerance with folks at home. On December 8, Unofficial Ambassador Joelle Peikes spoke before her service fraternity at the University of Maryland about her experience in Morocco teaching English at the Azrou Center for Community Development, and fellow Morocco alum Jenny Lee spoke before a church group about her service aiding environmental education programs at the National Park of Ifrane.
Just before the holidays, on Dec. 11, summer program alum Della Bradt spoke to a class at the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC, about her service with Dian Interfidi, a conflict resolution and interfaith organization in Indonesia.
On January 6, Morocco volunteer Madalyn Becker, spoke before two classes of seniors at Franklin High School, in Massachusetts, about her work teaching French at a village school.
And on January 9th, Rachel Wiser gave a presentation to her former high school, Sandy Springs Friends School in Maryland, about her experience volunteering with the women weavers of Tarmilaat village in Morocco. Rachel spoke to a Middle Eastern History class that will be travelling to Morocco this year as their annual class trip. She brought some items she collected this summer such as a tagine dish, a bag woven by the Tarmilaat women and African black soap to show the students.
Morocco alum Hallie Westlund also gave a presentation January 12 to her Mother-Daughter Book Club, which she held at her home. She and her mother served homemade Moroccan food and mint tea for occassion. Hallie presented about her service coaching a soccer camp in a Moroccan village . Back in September, Hallie also presented to the College of William and Mary’s Interfaith Club on her campus.
Community presentations like these are a core objective of America’s Unofficial Ambassadors and its mission of promoting cross-cultural tolerance, both abroad and in America. The stories our returned ambassadors bring home provide real world examples of how service and people-to-people partnership can build better relations between America and the Muslim world. With our 2014 programs, AUA aims to bring even more returned ambassadors to communities across the country with presentations on college campuses, in faith communities and with locally-led organizations.
Several more presentations are planned for the coming months. And be on the lookout for more from our 2014 ambassadors later this year.
Congratulations to all of our returned ambassadors who have shared their stories from the field.
Check out these video recordings of Della and Maddy’s presentations: