InterExchange Wins 2022 Global Youth Travel Award for Notable Innovation
By Tanya Burovtseva
3 minute read
Last week at the World Youth Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) in Lisbon, Portugal, the Ambassadors Fund for Summer Work Travel Scholarship program was named The Global Youth Travel Awards (GYTAs) best New Product for Notable Innovation!
The Notable Innovation award recognizes a travel or tourism organization that has developed an innovative product or service that was new to the youth and student travel industry in 2022. We are very proud and honored to share this recognition and award with our colleagues and partners at the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE).
The Ambassadors Fund for Summer Work Travel Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with the goal of enhancing mutual understanding and supporting public diplomacy efforts between the United States and young people from other countries.
In June 2022, InterExchange and CIEE hosted a group of 34 first-ever Ambassadors Fund for Summer Work Travel Scholarship recipients for a special in-person networking and skill-building seminar in New York City. These young leaders represented four countries—Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bulgaria—and spent 3 days in NYC before traveling to their Summer Work Travel (SWT) Program host employers and communities in California, New Jersey, Ohio, Arizona, Idaho, and Wisconsin. Through storytelling, the seminar group was tasked with tackling a social issue of their choosing and creating a pitch with the intention of inspiring change.
The seminar program included a special “Be a Changemaker Challenge”, a media literacy and storytelling workshop, and a Q&A session with Nicole Elkon, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange. In the end of their training and stay in New York, SWT ambassadors presented group pitches and engagement plans aimed at solving the following social issues: climate change, populism in media, women’s access to education, intergenerational exchange of ideas, human rights, animal rights, emotional intelligence, and lack of motivation in youth.
The positive feedback from our first group of scholarship recipients demonstrates that the seminar was a big success and this award further demonstrates that success.
Besides the huge development of my personal skills, due to my participation in the seminar I have gained some important practical skills, which I would like to use in the future. I was informed about the essential components of storytelling, about the right way to target the audience I want to have an impact on, and how I can effectively raise awareness of any issue I am concerned about.
— Tereza R., Armenia
The most memorable and the most unforgettable was the tour in United Nations, because I study at the faculty of Law and I know how this [is] one of the biggest organizations, but only theoretically. It was a pleasant experience for me to try all of this in practice. The whole human rights are related to my profession, so it was nice to feel these emotions. I saw in reality everything that I only used to hear about.
— Mariam S., Georgia
A heartfelt thanks to everyone at InterExchange, CIEE, the U.S. Department of State, and the United States Embassy and Consulate posts overseas who helped get this new scholarship and the arrival seminar off the ground!
Information about the 2023 Ambassadors Fund for Summer Work Travel Scholarship and participating countries will be posted shortly.
The Global Youth Travel Awards (GYTAs) formally recognize outstanding performers across several fields of international youth travel and reward WYSE Travel Confederation members and other stakeholders in the youth, student and educational travel industry that make a noteworthy contribution to the industry.
An international exchange alumna originally from Ukraine, Tanya started her career at InterExchange in 2011. Tanya is passionate about travel and cultural exchange and enjoys meeting J-1 exchange participants at InterExchange events.
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