Partners of the Americas was delighted to welcome students from the Buenos Aires Provincial Youth Leaders Program to Washington, D.C. on September 7. This group of nine high-school students, along with one mentor, is the first cohort to visit the United States through this program. In partnership with America Solidaria, the program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State through the Embassy of Argentina in the U.S.
Upon arriving to Washington, D.C., the Youth Leaders were immediately immersed in U.S. culture through playing ultimate frisbee on the National Mall. Ben Searle, co-founder of the group Ultimate Without Borders, provided the students with a crash-course in the game and explained how skills such as positivity, honesty, and respect learned through ultimate frisbee can be valuable in leadership positions.
The students’ first week in Washington D.C. also included a tour of the U.S. Capitol and a visit to the office of Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn where they discussed cultural differences between Washington, D.C. and Tennessee, and the responsibilities that come with being a senator.
The Youth Leaders also had the opportunity to tour two of D.C.’s most historic neighborhoods, U Street and Columbia Heights, where they learned about the city's unique local culture. They then visited Google’s Washington, D.C. headquarters to attend a talk led by business leaders about the unique challenges of social entrepreneurship as part of Washington D.C.’s Startup Week.
Additionally, the Youth Leaders visited Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business to learn about its Business for Impact program. They met with Ben Powell, CEO and founder of Agora Partnerships, to discuss social entrepreneurship and ways to promote positive change. These events and meetings helped introduce the youth leaders to people with leadership roles in technology, politics, business, nonprofit organizations, and the arts.
In addition to exploring everything D.C. has to offer, the students spent part of their orientation week participating in several Leadership in Action Workshops led by Partners’ staff. Based on Partners’ YouthLead curriculum, these workshops were designed to strengthen students’ abilities to identify community needs and assets, explore leadership and service, and strengthen their capacity to promote change. One goal of these workshops was to inspire students to create thoughtful and impactful community service projects to implement in their own communities upon returning to Argentina.
On their final day in Washington D.C., the students completed their last Leadership in Action workshop and met with senior officials at the Embassy of Argentina in the U.S., where they discussed Argentina – U.S. relations and aspects of working abroad for Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship. The day ended with dinner at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a historic D.C. landmark and eatery.
On September 13, the students departed Washington, D.C., to spend two weeks in Johnson City, Tennessee with the Tennessee Partners Chapter. The Chapter will host the students, as they take classes at the local high school, participate in community service projects, and visit local cultural landmarks.