Editor’s note: As the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs celebrates youth empowerment in October, we highlight some of the youth programs that our Community-Based Members implement to raise the next generation of citizen diplomats.
Each year, the Pacific & Asian Affairs Council (PAAC) brings students to the Philippines for nine days to observe how locals fight to make life better for their communities. Ruby Gordon, a former participant, shares how she got involved with the program and the organization.
How did you first get involved in international exchange programs and the Pacific & Asian Affairs Council?
I first got involved with PAAC in my sophomore year of high school. I was craving to learn more about international affairs. Thankfully, one of my friends told me about a Global Vision Summit (a PAAC conference event that engages 150+ youth on critical global issues twice a year). It was everything I wanted. PAAC seemed perfectly tailored to my interests. I kept coming to [PAAC] events and eventually joined the [PAAC 2017-2018] Global Leadership Program. I loved the GLP so much I knew I needed to see the world from the kind of angle GLP was teaching me.
How did your participation in PAAC’s Study Tour Program to the Philippines empower you as a young person to be a better global citizen/citizen diplomat?
PAAC’s study tour taught me how to look at global issues very objectively. I learned how to analyze and think about what I was seeing while I was on the study tour. I felt empowered to say what I was thinking and to trust my ideas. I left the study tour feeling incredibly in touch with myself and so confident about my future.
How can experienced exchange professionals (such as those in the Global Ties Network) help the next generation of global leaders?
I think experienced exchange leaders can help the next generation by telling students how incredibly accessible and affordable study abroad programs are. I am so thankful to PAAC for making a week-long trip to the Philippines affordable and realistic. I know many students are concerned with the cost. I think experienced exchange leaders should also know how many students are interested in going abroad, but they just don’t know how. Accessibility is key.
Learn more at the Pacific & Asian Affairs Council.
Read more stories about youth diplomats: Eden Davenport (Florida)