Route J-1


Ambassadors Impacting the Future of Cultural Diplomacy

Posted on Thursday, October 5th, 2017 at 7:52 pm.

By Lynette Evans-Tiernan, Communications Manager for the J-Visa Exchange Visitor Program
A version of this story was also published on the CHI News Blog

Cultural Ambassadors from Malaysia, Poland, Uzbekistan, Russia and Jamaica
proudly represent their countries

From August 14-16, fourteen distinguished winners from Cultural Homestay International’s (CHI’s) Summer Work & Travel program, representing ten different countries, were chosen to participate in CHI’s Cultural Ambassador Award (CAA) Conference, in Washington, DC.

During the two-day conference participants engaged in team workshops focused on diplomacy, leadership and cultural immersion as well as took part in lively panel discussions about the power and value of public diplomacy and cultural exchange with representatives from the Alliance for International Exchange, U.S. Department of State, and Embassies of Brazil and Jamaica. Participants also made new friends, expanded their networks, and developed concrete action plans to foster intercultural learning and understanding in their communities when they return home.

Read J-1 Reflections from the Event:

CHI Cultural Ambassadors in the lobby of the U.S. Department of State

“I haven’t shared that much about Ukraine in my lifetime. It was a great honor for me to be an ambassador, and an even greater honor to communicate with the U.S. Department of State and Embassy leaders we met in Washington. Moreover, it was really awesome to see that all of us students already have goals for our future. It was impressive to hear everyone’s future aspirations because it inspired and motivated me. I want to be an entrepreneur and open up a private foreign language school. The most memorable thing was sharing our experiences and making new connections and friends. Everybody has already received an invitation to visit each other’s countries.” – Bohdana Sydor, Ukraine

CHI Cultural Ambassador Natoya Scott from Jamaica proudly displaying her certificate of recognition. She hopes that people will learn more about Jamaica’s people, food, dance and culture.

“This conference was a life changing experience. The passionate way the guest speakers talked about their jobs and how they help improve the world inspired me and made me think about changing my career field from financial advisor to ambassador. The biggest lesson I learned from the event was that even though we all are from different countries we have a lot of in common. We all have the same life goals, we all have desire to be happy, and we all want to have peace in the world. Cultural diversity improves our understanding and tolerance of each other.” – Agnieszka Wcisło, Poland

CHI Cultural Ambassador Er Hann Ooi from Malaysia visits the United States Capitol.

“I was inspired by Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchanges G. Kevin Saba’s comment that you are the books you read, the people you meet and the experiences you collect.” – Er Hann Ooi, Malaysia

CHI Cultural Ambassador visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC

Categories: Program Spotlight

About G. Kevin Saba

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange


G. Kevin Saba serves as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In this capacity, he oversees the Exchange Visitor Program, which brings around 300,000 foreign citizens to the United States annually to teach, study, and build skills. He is the Director for the Policy and Program Support Division in ECA’s Office of Private Sector Exchange.

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