America’s Unofficial Ambassadors is a citizen diplomacy initiative, which builds mutual understanding and enhances people-to-people partnerships between the United States and the Muslim World.  We do this by placing Americans in volunteer positions in the Muslim World and helping them share their experiences upon their return.




“I have witnessed the innate similarity of people, no matter which corner of the world they come from.  Although cultural and religious differences were evident, I felt at home in both my internship placements, and everywhere else I traveled to in Morocco.  I feel that I have made lifelong friends and I now consider Morocco home, and a place to come back to.”

Bethlehem Belachew, SSI Morocco ‘15


“I made really meaningful connections with many of my students, and not only do I expect to communicate with them through Skype, Facebook, and email, but I also look forward to seeing them in Tajikistan or in America in the future. I feel so close to my fellow volunteers, they were an integral part of my experience. The daily support and encouragement that I received from them kept me positive and excited even on days that were difficult.” 

Rob Handerhan, SSI Tajikistan ‘15

Katrina_MarksI didn't have Muslim friends before I went to Zanzibar. And then I did. I spent six weeks working for at a female empowerment NGO with four brilliant, passionate, extremely hardworking Muslim women. I don't suggest that I learned everything I needed to know about the complicated and diverse religion of Islam in six weeks and by talking to four people.… but I was tired of being stuck in my own head, of feeling fear when I see a man with brown skin and a backpack, of mispronouncing the names of my classmates. 

Katrina Marks, SSI Zanzibar ‘15


“I learned the importance of smiling and enjoying life. As simple and cliché it may be, the children that I met in Morocco reminded me to soak in every moment of life and not to take things too seriously. Too often we as Americans become obsessed with our future and forget to live in the present. Morocco became more than a service internship for me; it became a discovery of my inner peace and a realization of my full potential as a human being and a leader.”

Joe Sgroi, SSI Morocco ‘14



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