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 Alison Muscato
“On this International Day of Tolerance, I call on all people and governments to actively combat fear, hatred and extremism with dialogue, understanding and mutual respect. Let us advance against the forces of division and unite for our shared future.” -UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon
At America’s Unofficial Ambassadors, we seek to promote tolerance and form people-to-people partnerships between the US and the Muslim world through volunteer service in areas of key human development needs. These long-lasting partnerships formed through short-term service enable citizens to transcend harmful stereotypes and to learn about different cultures while working on issues such as education, the environment, and human rights.
After the volunteers complete their service and return to their local communities and college campuses, they complete two presentations to share their experience living and working in the Muslim World. This is one of the most important aspects of AUA’s service internships because the community presentations offer AUA volunteers a platform to share their first-hand experience in the Muslim World to their local community members, and by doing so, dispel stereotypes and encourage inter-cultural dialogue.
Della Bradt, 2013 unofficial ambassador to Indonesia, highlights the importance of gaining first-hand experience in a foreign culture as a means to foster tolerance in our personal lives, communities and the world at large. In a blog post she wrote about her time in Indonesia, Della says,
“If everyone took the time to ask questions and learn about foreign places, I believe the world would be a much less scary place to live. We can only welcome and accept people if we understand where they’re coming from. This is why I felt like I needed to do a program with such hands on experience. It will help me to reinforce what I’ve learned in the classroom and form my own impressions of the Muslim world to share with others.” –Della Bradt
The UN’s office for human rights describes practical measures to promote a culture of tolerance such as intercultural dialogue, awareness-raising, and education. America’s Unofficial Ambassadors applies these practical measures through our service internships and allows individuals to become citizen diplomats and fight for a more tolerant world. To learn more about how you can become an unofficial ambassadors, follow this link.