Friendship Ambassadors Foundation Newsletter Groups Seeking Impact Choose FAF

"We thank you for making this historic trip so memorable"

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Before you decide to choose a for-profit event manager or tour operator to handle your next project, please review our concert and cultural exchange itineraries.
Witness the FAF difference for yourself.

Mission driven to unite cultural communities worldwide, with no profit motive whatsoever, FAF is consistently selected to direct or facilitate:
- Concert tours and festival appearances for all arts-based and cultural organizations -
young or old, large or small;
- International conferences and other global gatherings for delegates of all ages;
- Credit bearing Edutours and Voluntourism (service-based travel) worldwide; and
- FAF's own, youth leadership training workshops in support of the
U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals.

- NEW: the Foundation is the preferred U.S. representative for the exciting new Abraham Path Initiative. Initiated and directed by Harvard professors Dr. Joshua Weiss and Bill Ury (author of "Getting to Yes"), the Abraham Path is an exclusive hiking and cultural exchange trail through the Middle East ... on the very same roads Abraham once traveled!

in this issue
  • FAF - Contact & Commendations


    Facing challenges with budgets, destination selection or management, and even with the time needed to plan your next international group trip?

    This is why Friendship Ambassadors Foundation (FAF) was created. The recognized leaders at organizing concert tours, NGO gatherings, and service trips, has been everywhere and led tens of thousands of travelers to the experiences of their lives.

    Isn't it time we helped your next group tour experience become memorable forever?

    Notes for FAF's Executive Director, Patrick Sciarratta

    Just back from the Philippines and off to China in a couple of weeks. The Foundation is very proud of its service to so many new groups and destinations these days.
    It has been fun scouting out new opportunities for our concert groups, NGOs attending conferences, and the many service projects we help facilitate, too. Now, with our own programs going strong at the UN and growing elsewhere, it seems my staff and I are on the road quite often these days.

    You must bring your group to visit the Philippines. On any level there is much to do, exchange, offer, and learn. I just returned from two weeks setting up a great new concert tour for an excellent US performing arts ensemble, Synergy, that will visit the capital, Manila and the second largest city in the country, Cebu. They will have a very special experience performing to large audiences and meeting a variety of folk, academic, and professional performers along the way.
    There is plenty of raw beauty here, but also an oppressive amount of poverty. There is a lot for a service organization or cultural NGO to accomplish here and much we have to gain from them, too.

    Later in March, I leave for Beijing and then on to Nantong for a conference on how youth can help with the global, economic revitalization. This is one of several recent visits I have made to China and I love what I am seeing here.
    FAF has had a longstanding, close relationship with the Chinese people but we are now more welcome than ever.
    Many of you know that FAF was offered 500 land free places to China this summer for a 20 day concert tour. We hope to receive a similar offer again in 2011 and ask all our readers to pay special attention to this rare, subsidized opportunity. It is one that should not be missed in 2011!

    I am proud to dedicate my life's work to an organization that provides real opportunities for groups of Americans to meet communities of different cultures throughout the world, to help them, perform to them, and make substantive exchanges with them. No organization searches out communities interested in true cultural exchange - or in need of real, developmental engagement - the way FAF does.

    "This passion is what keeps my staff and me .... on the road!"
    - Patrick

    "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 and Artistic Director


    A new relationship for FAF: with the Abraham Path Initiative (API)
    Connecting the Human Family Step by Step
    Are you interested in the experience of a lifetime?
    Well, the Abraham Path offers such an opportunity as one of the most outstanding cultural itineraries in the world. Proceeding south from the Silk Road town of Harran in Southeastern Turkey, the path crosses one of the richest historical landscapes on earth, from the great Islamic centers of Aleppo and Damascus to the old pilgrimage cities of the Holy Land. Along the way, the trail winds through the Biblical scenery of the desert and descends through the olive groves and wildflowers that dot the landscape. Those who make this journey, now being offered to small groups of 15 to 20 people, will discover a chain of Roman ruins, medieval castles and desert monasteries, and extraordinary sites related to Abraham.

    FAF's Inaugural, Familiarization Trip for Group Leaders and Others:
    Dec 27 - Jan 7, 2010: Israel, Palestine, and Jordan
    (Including an optional, pre-hike extension to
    Jerusalem from Dec 23-26 for those seeking a
    Christmastime, Holy Land experience, too).
    2011-2012: Path opens for small groups interested in the arts, cultural exchange, new routes for hiking, spiritual experiences, and offers great learning opportunities with local API guides who really know the region, its history, and cultures.

    Click below to view two active API itineraries that are ready to go when you are ... actual upcoming dates are subject to change and customized to meet the needs of your group or class!


    For over 36 years, Friendship Ambassadors Foundation has been a global force bringing millions of people together through meaningful cultural exchange programmes.

    Our new Asian focus reflects the interests and connections of our Artistic Director, Ms. Yin-Chu Jou. Ms. Jou has created excellent Asian programming for many of our ensembles and groups over the past several years; we invite you to click below and see a few of them now!

    (As noted above: Mr. Sciarratta will be in China from mid-March through early April. if there is any need for the Foundation to represent your emerging interest in a future program there, please let us know by email or call prior to Monday, March 22.)

    Please contact FAF's Artistic Director, Ms. Yin-Chu Jou (yinchu@faf.org; 1-800-526-2908) to discuss your Asia plans so you have all the information in hand when your group meets.



    January 2 - 8, 2011
    University for Peace
    Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica


    Accommodations in eco-style youth hostel
    Cultural immersion with two field trip days included.

    Contact FAF at friendlyam@faf.org to learn more about the programme course, faculty, and the incredible location: Costa Rica next January!

    click below to learn more about

    Trip to Costa Rica ˇ June 28 - July 3, 2010

    Visit organizations including:
    ˇ UN mandated graduate school University for Peace's gender program
    ˇ The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) program on Safe Motherhood and Gender Equality
    ˇ The Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR) Women's Rights Program CEDAW
    and other women organizations in Costa Rica.

    The US National Committee for UNIFEM (UNIFEM/USNC) is one of 17 national committees that support the mission of UNIFEM (the United Nations Development Fund for Women). Chartered in 1983, UNIFEM/USNC is committed to expanding support and raising funds within the United States for UNIFEM. Through the help of its local Chapters and Members, the UNIFEM/USNC help support UNIFEM projects that span 100 countries around the globe.

    UNIFEM is the women's fund at the United Nations, dedicated to advancing women's rights and achieving gender equality. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies to foster women's empowerment. UNIFEM works on the premise that it is the fundamental right of every woman to live a life free from discrimination and violence, and that gender equality is essential to achieving development and to building just societies.


    GREAT, SUMMER CONCERT TOUR OPTION ˇ An Appearance in NYC during the annual Youth Assembly at the U.N. and A Week in NYC at a Glance, FAF Style!

    Here is one itinerary, right in the newsletter:

    Day 1- Upon arrival in New York City, an FAF representative will be there to welcome you. Board your private motor coach for your transfer to your accommodations in Midtown Manhattan. After settling in and depending on arrival times, enjoy a welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant or a short FAF orientation before turning in for the night.
    Day 2- Board your private motor coach this morning to the Empire State Building; tour the Observatory Tower. After getting to know New York from above, take some free time to discover 5th Avenue and the Grand Central Station area. Your motor coach will take you to your first indoor performance and exchange. Have dinner together at a restaurant nearby, arranged by FAF.
    Day 3 - Enjoy breakfast then join FAF staff and interns: explore the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art (entrance included), one of the world's finest museums. Have lunch in the museum's cafeteria. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon for shopping or individual sightseeing. Tonight: special exchange opportunities will be tailored for each group.
    Day 4- After breakfast, stroll through Rockefeller Center and the famous Central Park. Visit the Central Park Zoo, Conservatory Garden, enjoy the Carousel and Carriage Rides, or do some boating on the Lake. In the afternoon, board your motor coach for your transfer to Greenwich, Connecticut. Concert in the Greenwich community. Reception and dinner arranged after the performance.
    Day 5 - Depart to Downtown and take a cruise to the Statue of Liberty. Upon arrival, prepare for your first outdoor concert at the Statue of Liberty Flagpole area. After a fun, al fresco performance, take time on your own to explore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Upon your return to Manhattan, visit Ground Zero. Explore Chinatown and Little Italy. Tonight: special exchange opportunities will be tailored for each group.
    Day 6 - In the early afternoon, meet for lunch at the hotel and then transfer to United Nations headquarters in New York City for a visit and your concert. Upon arrival, enjoy a guided tour of this vital peacemaking institution. Visit the gift shop for your souvenirs. Mail them with special stamps available only from the UN! In the early evening, if dates work out, join other international performers for the annual U.C. Peace Arts Festival related to the annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations. This is also an award ceremony for UN officials involved with cultural activities.
    Day 7 - After breakfast, enjoy a 2-hour, semi-circle cruise around Manhattan, which will be a breathtaking experience and allow you to get to know some of the history of Manhattan, New Jersey and Brooklyn. In the afternoon, enjoy some free time at Times Square. After an early dinner at Times Square, enjoy an included, evening performance on Broadway tonight!
    And: all at a very inviting price that is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law through FAF. Make an impact at a fraction of the cost of high rate, for-profit tour operators (Actually, even tour operators use FAF these days to increase the impact of their tours and lower costs overall. With no profit motive whatsoever, the Foundation is happy to oblige.)

    "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


    FAF has prepared successful, university level courses for your review. These courses offer matriculated and continuing students the opportunity to earn course credits while having the time of their lives in beautiful cities around the globe! These courses can be tailored to your needs and destinations as well as to any academic discipline.

    Here are a few offerings to consider in 2010-11:

    ˇ Nuts and Bolts: Examining the administration and management of cultural nonprofit organizations. Held at your university or on site at influential NGOs in New York and elsewhere.

    ˇ Cultural Leadership in the Age of Private Citizen Diplomacy: A Positive Role for Non-State Actors.

    ˇ Central European Cultural Immersion Course in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, and Hungary: our most impressive success to date. NOTE: This inviting three-week course can be offered by a variety of departments with confidence: International Relations, Liberal Arts, Continuing Education among them.

    Take a moment and scan Professor Devon MacNamara's email, below. It captures the highlights of this intensive course which FAF developed for her students at West Virginia Wesleyan College last Spring:

    "RE: WVWC Central European experience -- brava, bravo!

    Great trip, wonderful guide, Michala couldn't be more helpful, accommodations excellent, the program unfolding harmoniously, and the kids very happy and amazed.

    Good flights, although a REAL sprint in Paris to change planes. Thank you for all the work you have done on this experience, Yin-Chu.

    What a wonderful time for our students, and for us, in east central Europe his May! Thank you for all your preparations, each of which resulted in harmonious connections, well planned excursions, enlightening programs, real fun, fine food, excellent cultural exchanges, some happy surprises, like meeting with young gymnasium students in Prague,

    There were valuable challenges too, like going to see the play in Budapest which was extraordinarily intense. The writer/actor H. Gabor was incredible and his young student, Zoltan Tar, talented and expressive. It was not a theatre event our students get to see every day so it was right on target for what we hoped for them and provided an opportunity for our students to talk with the actors, as well as students learning English in the audience. The concert in Prague in the Klementinum, the truly spectacular dancing at The Magic Lantern, classical ballet at The National Theatre in Bratislava, all were genuinely thrilling, and the historical/political talk with the indefatigable Dagmar was excellent -- on that "Botel!"

    The writers that Dagmar and Peter managed to find for us were exceptional choices, being of a generation that knew the war and were blessed with long memories, and able to share intense accounts, modestly given, of what they had lived through with a depth of dignity today's young people, especially Americans who have not suffered, don't always encounter. Attila Melegh was perfect - in fact, the students couldn't get enough of him, and went trooping off to find his book after the lecture. He was gracious and energetic and funny and they were all very inspired to see the world with more informed eyes as a result of our time with him. We hadn't had a predominantly economic explanation of twentieth- century events up to that point so it was valuable. He was au courant about contemporary political trends and how to spot evidence in conversation and on posters around the city.

    Sarolta couldn't have been more helpful, informative, motherly, practical, and caring, and we all got very fond of her. She has depths and depths and a deep love of her country, and Bill and I imagined for next time maybe a kind of panel with her and Attila on it presenting their different takes on Central European society twenty years after the fall of we-all- know-what. The final dinner at the Hotel Corvin, and the folk dancers afterward, was happy and charming and very stirring really - the singing! Oh my. And the dancers, as Sarolta explained, had regular jobs too, which made their presentation more brilliant and heartfelt. Again, for next time, as in Ireland, more dancing for all of us! It was a fitting finale as well as an invitation to return for more as soon as possible.

    And that's really our only true complaint, too little time, and how and when can we return?

    And the music! Oh my! From Dvorak and Smetana (of course) to Ligeti (an hommage, so he was in the audience) and of course much baroque brass, and all the gorgeous pianos in Vienna - truly magnificent, everywhere we went, from the streets to the churches to the concert halls. Brilliant.

    Sorry this is so long. Many thanks once again. If I've left anything out you or your contacts would particularly like feedback on please let me know.

    Can't we stay another month?


    Would you like to review our University Course in Central Europe for Summer 2010 or Winter break 2011? Have an idea for another course and need help with the itinerary and planning? Give us a call or send an email and we will be happy to forward the Central European course plan to you -- or work on a customized, credit-bearing or noncredit course offering with your academic needs in mind!

    FAF - Contact & Commendations

    299 Greenwich Avenue
    Greenwich, Connecticut USA 06830


    USA: 001-203-542- 0652; -0661(f)
    Travel Groups, Only: 1-800-526-2908
    Also, Travel Groups and Delegates: Ask about your private, online information service (OTIS) that is password protected and ready for use, 24/7!

    Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, Inc. (FAF) is a 501c3 not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization that creates and leads transformative cultural exchanges, building friendships that advance mutual understanding and global peace. FAF has many 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 Foundation's work includes the creation and facilitation of cultural exchange programmes, the promotion of youth leadership events, and support for sustainable development through cultural tourism in emerging regions worldwide.

    "The Grosse Pointe South choir's trip to NYC was well organized and very exciting. We so enjoyed the UN and the opportunity to sing for the UN (International) school ... (T)he workshop with Gavin Creel - and then watching him in Hair - was an experience our students will never forget. I have traveled with FAF since 1976 and each trip has been a new and exciting experience. By the way, our rooms ... were amazing. We were only a half of a block off Times Square and I could lie in my bed and watch Time's square ball turn from red, to blue, to green. What memories we will all have. Thank you." - Ellen J. Bowen, Director of Choral Activities, Grosse Pointe South High School ˇ March 2009

    "On behalf of the Huntington Middle School Advanced Orchestra, we would like to express our grateful appreciation to FAF for organizing and coordinating our field trip to New York City and Carnegie Hall on April 8-12, 2009. Our students had a wonderful time and gained invaluable experience from this trip. The itinerary you planned was excellent, as was your assistance throughout our stay in New York. We are especially thankful to you for arranging the tour and concert at the Julliard School, which was an inspiration to our students. We certainly look forward to using your services again in the future." - Rob Folsom, Orchestra Director and Vanessa Koo, Orchestra Club Chair, June 2, 2009

    "It is a great pleasure to greet the participants in the 2009 Youth Assembly at the United Nations. I thank the Permanent Mission of Hungary, the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation ... and all others involved in making this event possible. The world needs you to make the most of this gathering.",
    Ban Ki-Moon
    United Nations Secretary General
    August 2009

    "I just wanted to extend a sincere word of thanks for organizing the UN Youth Assembly. It was my first time attending the conference and I was utterly impressed by the depth and breadth of topics as well as the passion of the panelists and my fellow delegates. As a Project Manager at the Clinton Foundation and the Co-Founder of Canopy (a non-profit organization in Tanzania focused on bridging the education achievement gap for orphans) the conference was not only personally fulfilling, but professionally rewarding. I hope to be back at next year's UN Youth Assembly."
    - Justin Pang (YA Participant, 2009)

    "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 liftoff , 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 ... NOTE: Take a look at the latest West Virginia Weselyan College course in Central Europe arranged by FAF, in May 2009 - view their recent, post tour email, left!

    "I am writing you to formally express the lead endorsement by this Mission of the proposed Lasallian Student Convocation at United nations Headquarters for April 2010. In endorsing this proposed Convocation, it is our understanding that Friendship Ambassadors Foundation will be the primary contact for the logistical organization at the United nations. May I take this opportunity to thank you for your assistance to the Christian Brothers for their efforts to promote in commemoration of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) the special care and assistance to which each and every child is entitled by virtue of his inherent dignity." - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apolostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, June 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

    "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

    "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

    "First of all, let me tell you that the tour was Wonderful! We couldn't have asked for better more receptive 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

    "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

    "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

    "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

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

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