Friendship Ambassadors Foundation Newsletter Moving from Good to Great
Midwinter 2009


Jim Collins, author of Good to Great (Random House, 2001) challenges us by asking how to increase our impact, especially when facing crisis. When the once-failing Cleveland Orchestra, noted in the book, asked "What do we mean by great results?," they began down a road to becoming a great organization. Considering our current challenges, all NGOs should seek no less today.

in this issue
  • FAF - Contact
  • A Historic Moment
  • The Global Consortium
  • Group Based Travel and Now, Individuals, Too
  • Annual Youth Assembly Attracts Cultural Diplomats

  • A Historic Moment

    The current economic crisis has hit many arts institutions and organizations very hard. Cancelled cultural exchanges, concert tours, and service projects abroad; teachers laid off, NGOs facing closure, and funds for cultral programming themselves in jeopardy.

    FAF believes this is a time to move from "Good to Great" and capitalize on the strength of the overall 'cultural exchange' and 'in-country service' movements in a way that was never necessary to embrace in the past.

    Friendship Ambassadors Foundation believes in creating mutual exchange opportunities and hopes to encourage a continuation of support for exchanges now among our colleagues who conduct international, mission-based group travel. As a field, those interested in international, cultural exchange need to collaborate amongst themselves so as to increase its impact before there are any further cutbacks.

    Considering the current desire to improve our country's image worldwide, the foundation has proposed to the US State Department that a new database be created that would gather basic information about these international trips undertaken and self funded by artistic ensembles, service groups, and volunteer organizations of every kind - aggregated onto one, free to the public database, called The Global Consortium (as a working title).

    The purpose is threefold: 1) to enable the State Department to better understand how large the field is - so as to use this general information in a way that may help help 'win hearts and minds' around the world; 2) to encourage touring groups to learn which other groups will be in the area and how they might collaborate to increase their programming, media, or fund development capacities, and 3) to alert the media at home and in the visited country about the wide range and large numbers of Americans traveling abroad each year in pre-formed, cultural and service based projects - and how they help make the entire world a better place to live and grow in.

    It may also encourage other groups to join the tens of millions of Americans who travel abroad to help with medical, reconstruction, development, and cultural sharing with regions of the world sorely in need of such relationships. It will demonstrate the strength, educational, and social values of these programmes in ways that are indisputable. For example, the last time we found statistics on the subject, nearly 10 million people traveled in these kinds of pre-formed groups and arts ensembles providing $8.9 BILLION in revenue to the travel industry alone. That is clout in anyone's books.

    The Global Consortium
    Coe College Bands performing in Taiwan, August 2008

    For years, Friendship Ambassadors Foundation has been promoting a cultural view of global diplomacy, where interculturalism tops multiculturalism. The foundation hopes to help create a world where we all appreciate each other's culture with mutual respect.

    FAF hopes that the creation of a new, free, online service, unveiled in March, called The Global Consortium, will promote this idea by encouraging all pre-formed, mission-based travel groups, of all kinds, to list their names, project, location, dates, regions,and proposed outcomes at the online intranet service we have provided at: www.faf.org.

    The purpose of the Consortium will be to encourage collaboration in programming, fund and media development at a time when more voices are better than fewer, while also enabling the US State Department to recognize the vast importance of these cultural and service based tours, and for the media themselves to know more about the depth and breadth of these projects around the world.

    We hope you will decide to sign on, no matter how or whom you are traveling with, soon. Good Travels!

    Group Based Travel and Now, Individuals, Too

    Have you visited FAF's website recently? (www.faf.org) Well if not, be prepared it is changing and there is much more to come!

    Responding to the changing demographic of travelers, the foundation has now created some excellent legacy tours, FAF's own branded concert tours that promote mutual understanding and voluntourism projects of its own. We are now serving both our traditional groups, arts ensembles, and individuals who come to FAF to be a part of larger programs and service tours that have real impact around the world.

    These days, FAF is known for its excellent concert tours, service or voluntourism programming, its annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations, the United Cultures (UC) Peace Arts Festival annually at the UN, and its own well-received (and 55-wind - instrument strong) Youth Band for the United Nations.

    The foundation has worked with academic institutions to help internationalize their portfolios and drive global recruitment to them through FAF's own recognized, international presence and the special access we provide for the institutions and organizations we serve.

    So, if you haven't seen the FAF site in awhile, take a visit. Whether or not you are planning any group travel in the near future, are deciding on a programme to join yourself or for one of your students, or perhaps considering joining nearly 1000 young people and their mentors every year at FAF's very successful UN Youth Assembly in New York.

    Annual Youth Assembly Attracts Cultural Diplomats
    YA08 PIC

    In keeping with the FAF mission to ensure cultural involvement in the process of global development, the foundation created and directs the annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations each August, at UN Headquarters in New York City. This year, the free after registration events will take place August 5 - 7, 2009 at the UN - the gathering will feature well known speakers, workshops and a large arts festival called the (United Cultures) U.C. Peace Arts Festival.

    The 6th annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations is a partnership with the UN Department of Public Information and others. It is endorsed by dozens of Permanent Missions to the UN.

    The YA, as it is called by the thousands of young people, arts ensembles, and leadership mentors who attend, is a place to unite those seeking a peaceful and more equitable world for all - while also allowing those involved in policy and volunteer service to interact with those who see the arts and cultural exchange as an essential part of that dialogue going forward.

    Individuals, arts ensembles, faculty and students alike are encouraged to sign up while there are still Delegate and Observer places available. Check out the blog, past assemblies, and log onto to our registration page soon. We already have over 375 registrants (more than half full!) and we look forward to seeing YOU there in 2009, too!

    FAF - Contact

    299 Greenwich Avenue
    Greenwich, Connecticut USA 06830

    43-45 Margit Krt.
    1024 Budapest, Hungary


    USA: 001-203-542- 0652; -0661(f)
    Europe: +36-1-225-7464 (t/f)

    Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc. is a 501c3 not for profit, tax exempt organization, with international affiliations, including the United Nations Department of Public Information, UNESCO, ACDA, Greenwich Arts Council, and other associations with academic, cultural, and diplomatic institutions worldwide. (FAF's U.S. Headquarters, in Greenwich, CT, is pictured above.)

    The goals of the foundation include the creation and facilitation of cultural exchange programmes that encourage mutual understanding and global cooperation, the promotion of youth leadership events, and support for sustainable development through cultural tourism in emerging regions worldwide.

    "I appreciate your time and effort, am grateful for your support and am quite overwhelmed with pride to read the amount of effort you have made on behalf of our trip. You have a true concept of what diplomacy involves and effect it repeatedly." - John McIntyre, Tour Coordinator, Greenwich Choral Society, June 2008 (Part of FAF's Sister City Project between Greenwich. CT and Vienne, France.)

    "The Movement Laboratory Youth Ensembles' 'Goodwill thru Dance Program' has traveled with FAF for over 20 years ... Thanks FAF for helping ... We will continue to create illuminate and teach peace." Judy Williams Henry, Founder, Artistic Director

    "If you saw the impact you have on youth (and young at heart), you would have to shade your eyes from the brightness of hope." - Paulette Schatz, Project Manager, United Nations Development Programme, Afghanistan

    "We are truly appreciative of the time you take to involve the world's youth in the process of global development. " - Astrid Hurley, U.N. Programme on Youth

    "It was a wonderful, wonderful trip. We're all home, safe & sound now with glorious echoes & scenes in our heads & hearts. Thank you for your patience & persistence & attention to detail all the way along the line to liftof f, And all went well in country too - The drivers were excellent & the students were speechless & happy. So, yes, I've appreciated how solid & consistent & thoughtful you've been, & flexible, & imaginative! All the best. You certainly ARE the best! Many, many thanks." Devon McNamara, (Leader, West Virginia Wesleyan), 6/06 ... By the way, WVWC repeated this successful programme in 2008 and will travel with us on a new cultural exchange with a full class, off to Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, and Vienna in 2009.

    "On the wonderful work that Friendship Ambassadors is accomplishing, I commend you for your leadership in promoting cultural exchange between people both young and old around the world. Hillary joins me in sending her best wishes." Former President Bill Clinton

    "I commend FAF's efforts to work with young people to help them find possible means and ways to peace and reconciliation. I would also wish to stress the importance of generous support for this project." - President Martti Ahtisaari, (former) President of Finland, 2008 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

    "God love you for the love you give through the joy you spread." - Mother Teresa

    "What you are doing couldn't be closer to my heart. I urge you to keep opening new doors of friendship wherever you travel and perform. Godspeed!" - Leonard Bernstein

    "I know of few projects today that succeed more in helping our young musicians do what they do best: sharing the magic & glory of music with their love of people & their zest for new adventures." - Alice Tully

    "We strongly support FAF's mission to create international cultural opportunities . . . please, do your best to help them in their nonprofit efforts." - András Török, author, former Secretary of State for Culture, Hungary

    "First of all, let me tell you that the tour was Wonderful! We couldn't have asked for better more receptiptive audiences. Secondly . Secondly, whatever you do ... keep [FAF Artistic Director] Yin-Chu Jou. I couldn't have asked for a more gracious, "johnny on the spot," kind, loving, helpful person to travel with! And I know very well that it takes a team to make something like this come to fruition. So THANK YOU ALL, FAF!" - Kim Clayton, Founder and Director Clayton Productions August 2008

    "The Alliance Francaise of Greenwich would like to thank you and your Artistic Director Yin-Chu Jou for your efforts in including [us] in the Greenwich Choral Society trip to France honoring the Greenwich/Vienne Sister City 2008 initiative... The trip was seamless, due in no small part to your advance planning ... We thank you and your team for making this historic trip so memorable." - Renee Ketcham, President, Alliance Francaise of Greenwich, July 2008

    "Thanks again for everything you did for our experience, Yin-Chu. It was certainly a first-class operation, and you were friendly, charming, professional, and organized." - Dr Christopher J . Nicholas, Coe College Bands Soloist; Associate Director of Bands The University of Wyoming Department of Music; August 2008

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