This unique program has cultivated goodwill ambassadors since its inception. The program's benefits do not end with the exchange. Our alumni continue to employ the skills they learned as Youth Ambassadors: leadership, open-mindedness, hands-on experience, tolerance and respect for diversity. They also learn about the shared interests that define the vital historic friendship between the U.S. and Israel.
"There is a huge difference between hearing real-life stories from people with whom you have a relationship and just reading some article. Now I feel more connected to the people and feel as if I have some sort of loyalty to keep with them, by supporting their country as a whole. This trip will forever change my perspective, and I am so grateful for that" – Melissa Neel, 2010 Youth Ambassador, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
"I can't even put in words the gratitude I have for these people who opened their homes and hearts to me. Today many of my friends in Israel are officers in the army and
some have already completed their mandatory service and are beginning their studies for entrance examination to attend an Israeli university." – Stefan Williams, 2007 Youth
Ambassador, New York, NY
"I wanted to say how thankful I am for everything you did to make the trip such an amazing and unforgettable experience. I seem to look at things differently, and feel so much more confident in myself and my beliefs. So far I've only done one presentation on Israel in school, but I have been 'booked' to do more for local clubs and one for the general public. It's so great in a small town like mine because there was a nice article about me in the local newspaper. Now maybe 95% of Glasgow knows about my trip. Everyone is very supportive and wants to know more." – Kyla Wall, 2008 Youth Ambassador, Glasgow, MT
"Participating in this extraordinary youth exchange program changed my life both personally and professionally. I had my first experience representing my country to American teenagers and conveying to them the 'Israeli experience.' The skills I developed then in promoting understanding of [Israel] I still use everyday in my work as a diplomat. My hosts were a charming couple from Milwaukee, WI whose daughter,
Beth, remains my best friend." – Nurit Tinari-Modai, Israeli Director of the Department for Cultural and Scientific Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1983 AIFL Youth Ambassador from Tel-Aviv.
"Although over 20 years ago, I continue to credit the AIFL Youth Ambassador program as the catalyst responsible for changing me from a young person of questionable direction, to that of a career military officer. I have had the confidence to lead people, and challenge myself through two masters' degrees and my PhD. Every day I can apply the lessons and experiences learned as an AIFL Youth Ambassador to help understand better the situation not only in Israel but the rest of the Middle East" – U.S. Navy Lt. Bennett Solberg, PhD, FACHE, CDFM, LCDR, MSC 1986 Youth Ambassador, Minneapolis, MN.