The French Youth Ambassadors Alumni association organized its third annual reunion on May 9, 2015 around a colloquium on citizenship in Bordeaux, with the support of the U.S. Embassy and APP Bordeaux. The colloquium was presided over by former Prime Minister and Mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppé and U.S. Consul Toby Wolf.
The Youth Ambassadors exchange program was created in 2008, and is co-funded and administered by the French government’s General Commission for the Equality of Territories (formerly National Agency for Social Cohesion and Equal Opportunities, ACSé) since 2009. Approximately 200 high school students have participated in the program since its inception in 2008 by U.S. Embassy Paris, and it is post’s key youth engagement program – one of the main priorities of the Department of State.
The Jeunes Ambassadeurs Alumni – Youth Ambassadors Alumni (JAA-YAA) association was created in October 2012 by former Youth Ambassadors, U.S. Embassy staff, and ACSé. Its members lead promote civic values and community service through local mentoring, volunteering, and cultural activities. With the expansion of the Youth Ambassadors exchange program to include American students in 2014, they are helping to create a bilateral alumni program of former French and American Youth Ambassadors.
The annual meeting was an exciting opportunity to new and old Youth Ambassadors to meet, network, and brainstorm about future projects. On May 8, the Youth Ambassadors alumni attended a guided tour of Bordeaux, led by the director of Bordeaux’s slave trade memorial, and visited Bordeaux’s International Fair. Sixty alumni and forty non-alumni students attended a colloquium on citizenship in Bordeaux on May 9. The first panel tackled the concepts and complexities of French and European citizenship. The second panel focused on the U.S.’s strong legacy of community service. The third panel was dedicated to confronting the future challenges of citizenship in France. The afternoon was dedicated to the development of the alumni association. Each region presented the idea of a project, which will then be implemented in other regions. The former Youth Ambassadors Alumni President was elected Alumni of the Moment, for his alumni and personal achievements. The event ended with a gala Youth Ambassadors Alumni ball, and all the participants went home excited to embark on new civic engagement projects.