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.
By Stefan Cornibert
Program Coordinator, America’s Unofficial Ambassadors
As I write this, from communities across the United States are packing their bags and looking ahead to a summer experience like no other, building new partnerships between America and Muslim communities abroad as part of the 2014 America’s Unofficial Ambassadors Summer Service Internship program.
Over the next few months, here on our Volunteer Voices blog, we hope you’ll share in their journey through the stories and blog posts they’ll send back from the field. Bringing the experience home is a core value of AUA’s mission of building tolerance at the grassroots level in the United States and abroad, part of a growing movement of people who understand that each of us has a role to play in international relations, and specifically America’s relationship with the Muslim world.
In photos, travelogues and videos, our unofficial ambassadors will share their stories with the people of their home communities, whether they’re working with children at an autism NGO in Tajikistan, supporting the work of a women’s health organization in Indonesia, running a summer camp in Morocco, or teaching English at one of our partner schools in Zanzibar.
Our unofficial ambassadors come from all walks of life and each will bring their own personal perspective to the blog. They’ll produce at least four posts over the summer, starting with the pre-departure posts you’ll see here in the coming days, followed by two posts while they’re in-country, and ending with a reflective piece upon their return home. Along the way, they’ll talk about their service, the challenges they’ve overcome in the field and the friendships they’ve built in their host country.
But the blogs are just the first piece of the mission our unofficial ambassadors have chosen to take up. When they return, they’ll deliver presentations in their hometowns, on their college campuses or in local schools, bringing a global citizen’s perspective on the Muslim world back to the people of their home community.
We hope that over the next few months you’ll follow these stories and help to share them with others. In this way, you can become part of AUA’s mission, one that begins with volunteers abroad but continues long after they return home. And for many of this year’s unofficial ambassadors, that mission begins today.