Youth Ambassador Program


Global Ties U.S. helped lead the recruitment of Youth Ambassadors (U.S. citizens ages 18-29) who will serve as guides and cultural ambassadors at the USA PavilionThese energetic, friendly individuals will serve as the Faces of the United States to millions of Expo visitors, providing a human connection to the United States and its territories and reflecting its geographic and cultural diversity. 

Youth Ambassador Program FAQs

Q: What is an Expo?

A: Expos, also known as World Fairs and World Expos, provides a unique space for global discussion and cooperation, and aim to be efficient instruments of progress in all areas linked to innovation and human development such as the environment, energy, health, science, and the arts. For more than 160 years, Expos have helped humanity make sense of change and navigate through difficult times by promoting education, innovation, and cooperation. The United States has a long history with Expos, having hosted these events in Philadelphia (1876), Chicago (1893 and 1933), St. Louis (1904), San Francisco (1915), New York (1939), Seattle (1962), San Antonio (1968), Spokane (1974), Knoxville (1982), and New Orleans (1984).

 Q: Will Expo 2020 Dubai take place in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?

A: The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) member states have voted and confirmed the one-year postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai. While maintaining the original Expo 2020 name, it will now run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 to allow all participants to safely navigate the impact of COVID-19.

Q: What is a Youth Ambassador? 

A: Youth Ambassadors at the USA pavilion are the “Faces of America” to the millions of visitors at Expo serving as guides and cultural ambassadors. Youth Ambassadors offer an authentic pavilion visitor experience and have detailed knowledge of each exhibit area to enhance the visitor experience. They are also there to support the safe and comfortable movement of patrons through the venue as well as ensure assets and artifacts of the pavilion are protected and preserved.

In addition to hosting pavilion visitors and explaining the stories and theme of it; Youth Ambassadors will serve in various departments and will be exposed to the many elements of the venue’s functions and outreach. Such opportunities will include time in media, cultural, and VIP function departments and representing the pavilion at events and functions. This varying rotation offers valuable experience. Specific duties include:

  • Serve as point of contact when welcoming and guiding guests in and through the pavilion
  • Cooperate with onsite management to maintain order & safety of guests visiting the USA pavilion
  • Engage in cultural diplomacy as a regional representative of the U.S. to visitors
  • Assist in organizing and executing events in the pavilion and relating to the U.S. Expo presence
  • Represent the U.S. in opportunities to meet both U.S. and international high-profile delegates, officials, and representatives
  • Participate in potential service projects in and around the Expo community and the United Arab Emirates


Q: Are foreign language skills required to become a Youth Ambassador?

A: We prefer that Youth Ambassadors have foreign language skills, particularly in those languages spoken by projected Expo 2020 Dubai visitors: Arabic, Bengali, Mandarin, Farsi, French, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu. However, foreign language skills are not a requirement to become a Youth Ambassador, and we will review all completed applications we receive.

Q: Is there an age range for Youth Ambassadors?

A: Yes. Youth Ambassadors should be between 18 – 29 years old as of August 1, 2021If you are under 18 at the time of application, you will be asked to provide legal guardian information and your application screening process may differ slightly. If you are outside of that range, we encourage you to look for other opportunities to get involved in Expo 2020 Dubai. These can be found on the U.S. Pavilion website

Q: How many Youth Ambassadors will be selected?

A: A total of 75 Youth Ambassadors will be selected and assigned to one of three cohorts:

  • 24 to serve in Fall 2021 (September-January)
  • 24 to serve in Spring 2022 (January-April)
  • 27 to serve the “Full-Term” of the Expo from September 2021-April 2022

Note: first-choice of cohort is not guaranteed and varies based on need. Please visit the application landing page for the most up-to-date information or contact

Q: What is the selection process? When will applicants be notified of their status?

A: The application will remain open from July 20, 2020 – Feb 26, 2021. Applications for Youth Ambassador positions will be accepted until filled. Submissions will be reviewed and status updates may be sent periodically. After completion, each application will undergo a thorough review process that may include interviews and potentially additional submissions. Only complete applications will be reviewed. Global Ties U.S. reserves the right to change the application timeline and availability of the portal at any time.

Q: Will selected Youth Ambassadors undergo a medical exam?

A: Yes. According to UAE visa laws, successful Youth Ambassador candidates will be required to pass a health exam that includes a general health check-up, a chest X-ray, and a test for communicable diseases such as HIV (AIDS), Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis (TB), Leprosy, and Syphilis. Due to UAE regulations, those who test positive will be unable to obtain a visa.

Q: Will selected Youth Ambassadors undergo a background check?

A: Yes. Applicants will be subject to a criminal background check as a condition of the selection process.


Q: Where will Youth Ambassadors stay? Will they share accommodations?

A: Youth Ambassadors will stay in furnished apartments and will share these with other U.S. Youth Ambassadors of the same gender. These Expo Village apartments will be located on or close to the Expo site, making it easy for Youth Ambassadors to get to and from the pavilion.

Q: I already have housing or am willing to arrange that on my own. Is that allowed?

A: Though no candidate will be excluded based solely on housing arrangements, in the spirit of both group cohesiveness and program community, Youth Ambassadors as a group will be expected to live in Expo Village housing unless given prior approval to do otherwise. Youth Ambassadors are highly encouraged to take advantage of the proximity of the Expo village to the Pavillion site.

Q: Will Youth Ambassadors wear a uniform?

A: Yes. All Youth Ambassadors will be provided with official uniforms that must be worn during all shifts at the USA Pavilion. Uniforms may be tailored to fit the individual, and uniform fittings will be conducted before the Youth Ambassadors’ departure for Dubai. Individuals may be required to provide measurement information. The USA Pavilion will assist with uniform maintenance and upkeep, but Youth Ambassadors will be responsible for ensuring that they are professionally presented at all times during their work shifts.

Q: Is there a living stipend or pay for the duration of the event?

A: Yes, all Youth Ambassadors can expect to receive a weekly stipend of $300/week while involved in the program. This stipend covers the cost of any additional food outside of work, any optional travel or entertainment on off days, and any other living expenses that may occur. Additionally, except during the incoming transition for the Spring 2022 cohort, all Youth Ambassadors will be housed at the Expo Village, meaning no commuting cost to or from the U.S. Pavilion.

Youth Ambassadors who opt to serve in the Full-Term cohort (September 2021-April 2022) will be eligible to receive a $1,500 USD Service Completion Bonus upon successful completion of their service. Only participants in the Full-Term cohort will be eligible to receive this benefit.

Q: Are there any meals or food covered while in Dubai? 

A: As part of their service, all Youth Ambassadors will be provided with a meal at the pavilion restaurant during a scheduled shift. Youth Ambassadors are responsible for their own food costs outside of their scheduled time at the pavilion.

Q: What is the United Arab Emirates (UAE) like?

A: The UAE is made up of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. The country sits at the southern end of the Persian Gulf and borders Saudi Arabia and Oman. It was founded in 1971 and has grown rapidly since then, expanding in industries and areas including trade, oil production, tourism, arts, education, and sustainability. Many of the country’s 10 million inhabitants are foreign workers from South Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and other regions, making the UAE one of the most diverse countries in the world.

Q: Is the UAE a safe country?

A: The UAE is one of the safest countries in the world and has a very low crime rate (see U.S. Department of State Travel Guidance here). As with all travel abroad, however, Youth Ambassadors should always be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution. Youth Ambassadors will receive a security briefing during their in-country orientation. For additional safety and security information in the UAE, please visit the UAE Country Information Page at Travel.State.Gov.

Many consider enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), run by the U.S. Department of State. This is not required. However, in case of an emergency, being enrolled facilitates contact with consulates in the travel areas you designate. More information can be found here:

Q: Will female Youth Ambassadors be expected to cover their hair?

A: No. Female Youth Ambassadors will not be expected to cover their hair. Although Islam is the official religion of the UAE and Islamic traditions form an important part of the country’s heritage, the UAE is a diverse country that welcomes a wide variety of religious and cultural traditions in the spirit of tolerance and hospitality. Nevertheless, out of respect for local customs, all visitors are encouraged to dress modestly. For both women and men, that means skirts or pants should extend below the knees, shoulders should be covered, and revealing or tight clothing should not be worn.

Q: Will it be difficult to get by in the UAE without speaking Arabic?

A: Although Arabic is the official language of the UAE, much of the population in Dubai speaks English or another language. Visitors can easily get by just speaking English, particularly in more urban areas. Road signage, for example, is written in both Arabic and English.

Q: Do the laws of the UAE apply to USA Pavilion staff, including Youth Ambassadors?

A: Yes. All Youth Ambassadors must adhere to the laws and regulations of the host country, the United Arab Emirates.

Q: Do Youth Ambassadors have diplomatic immunity?

A: No. Youth Ambassadors do not have diplomatic or any form of immunity.

Q: I am an American citizen living abroad. Can I still be considered even though I have permanent residency outside of the U.S.?

A: Yes. The opportunity is open to all American citizens, no matter where their permanent residency is located or where they may be currently.

Q: Where can I learn more about the United Arab Emirates?

A: If you are considering applying to the Youth Ambassador / Cultural Performer program, please familiarize yourself with the country information page for the UAE published by the U.S. Department of State.

Please pay close attention to sections on“Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements” and“Local Laws & Special Circumstances.”

Q: Will all Youth Ambassadors be required to recieve a COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend the Expo?

A: The health and safety of our Youth Ambassadors is of upmost priority. Though it’s still early to speak for final decisions regarding what will be required of Expo 2020 participants regarding COVID-19, the USA Pavilion continues to be in close contact with the U.S. Department of State, the Expo 2020 organizers, and local health authorities regarding the development of potential measures such as vaccination, mask protocol, and social-distancing. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.

Q: Can I take classes as a student while serving as a Youth Ambassador?

A: The Youth Ambassador application includes three cohort choices—fall, spring, or both semesters—to give applicants who are also students the option of taking a leave of absence from their studies. Applicants can indicate their choice of cohort on the application itself. The Youth Ambassador program is a full-time position and your schedule at the Expo will be full and vigorous. This opportunity is designed so that participants will fully immerse themselves in the culture of the United Arab Emirates and connect with people while representing the United States. Though not impossible, simultaneously attempting a student course-load while also a Youth Ambassador is not advised. We encourage Youth Ambassadors to leave time to both soak up the experience at Expo and balance the demands of the position.


Q: What are the dates Youth Ambassadors must be available for?

A: Expo 2020 Dubai will run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. However, Youth Ambassadors will participate in a launch event in Washington, DC in September 2021 as well as onsite orientation in Dubai before the Expo officially begins. Exact dates for the Youth Ambassador program vary by cohort. Please visit the application landing page for the most up-to-date information or contact

Q: Can Youth Ambassadors arrive late for training or leave early from the Expo?

A: It is the expectation that all Youth Ambassadors remain available for the full contract period of the cohort to which they agree to be a part of (Full-Term, Fall, or Spring). This includes the launch event in Washington D.C. and any additional scheduled orientation.

Q: If I want to stay in Dubai longer after my time at the Expo, can I extend my stay?

A: In order to appropriately arrange departing travel, Youth Ambassadors will be expected to return to their points of origin directly after their service at the USA Pavilion.

Q: Will Youth Ambassadors be responsible for their own travel arrangements to the Expo?

A: Global Ties U.S. will arrange and cover all travel from U.S. locations to Washington, DC. for program launch activities. Travel to Dubai and back to points or cities of origin is also covered.

Q: Are you covering travel to DC for those Youth Ambassadors with U.S. citizenship that may be living abroad now?

A: This will be decided on a case by case basis. Please contact us for more details.

Q: Will I need to get a visa for the UAE?

A: All Youth Ambassadors must obtain a valid Expo visa from the UAE to work at the USA Pavilion. The USA Pavilion management will provide support in obtaining a visa for Expo. Individuals will be required to respect all conditions of issue. We will not assist in processing visa applications for family, friends, or associates. U.S. citizens already in the UAE on a resident visa will not need to get the Expo visa as long as they can legally work in the UAE.

Q: Will you provide health insurance for selected Youth Ambassadors?

A: Yes. Youth Ambassadors will have comprehensive travel and medical insurance for the full duration of the program at the U.S. Pavilion.

Q: There will be times when I am not working. Can I travel to other places while with the program?

A: With prior approval, travel within the UAE (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman, and Umm al-Quwain) is allowed. However, Youth Ambassador schedules may vary.

Q: Do Youth Ambassadors have to adhere to a Code of Conduct?

A: Yes. All staff working at the USA Pavilion will be required to adhere to the USA Pavilion’s Code of Conduct and conditions set forth by Thinkwell in regard to service at the USA Pavilion. All of these must be acknowledged by the Youth Ambassador prior to beginning the program.

Q: What kind of training will be provided before the event?

A: USA Pavilion management will provide a detailed schedule of training that will feature both theory and practice. Some training will be with the entire USA Pavilion team, especially on topics that are relevant to all USA Pavilion staff. Other training will be specific to Youth Ambassadors and their role as the face of the USA Pavilion.

Q: What are the hours of work at the Pavilion?

A: USA Pavilion management will develop a rotational roster to ensure that the Pavilion is appropriately staffed at all times. Typically, Youth Ambassadors will be rostered 5-6 days per week with shifts ranging from 6-9 hours (including breaks). Total work hours will not exceed an average of 48 hours per week.

Q: Can I opt to share an apartment with a friend or fellow Youth Ambassador?

A: The USA Pavilion management will seek to accommodate such requests where possible. However, allocating accommodations in a way that supports the Pavilion’s operations in terms of teams and rosters will be prioritized.

Q: Can I swap from being a Youth Ambassador to another role should one become available?

A: No. Youth Ambassadors are recruited specifically to match the skills and criteria of the position. Once at the Expo, there will be no opportunity to changes roles. Further, Youth Ambassadors will undergo specific training to allow them to be high-functioning and valuable members of the USA Pavilion team, so it is important that as part of your application you understand the commitment required to meet all the obligations of the position.