- About Us
- Our Programs
- Network & Directory
- Summer Service!
- Support AUA
- AUA Blog
- Newsletter Sign-up
Short Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions about America’s Unofficial Ambassadors
1. What is the Muslim World? The Muslim World is the space and the community that is interested in issues related to Islam. It isn’t a world of borders per se, but of shared ideas and interests. In the context of the AUA mission, the volunteer service we support and promote is not exclusively with Muslim communities, but rather is focused in countries that have large Muslim populations. The use of “Muslim World” is not meant to exclude but rather is a term that is meant to characterize a large group with a common interest or bond.
2. Why does AUA seek to promote volunteer opportunities in the Muslim World? Volunteering on projects that promote common interests is a great way to build mutual understanding between different peoples. Eleven years after the 9/11 attacks, it is undeniable that significant work needs to be done in building mutual understanding between America and the Muslim World. At Creative Learning, we value the capacity of individuals to build people-to-people partnerships that help to get past certain stereotypes.
3. What are AUA’s programs? Our programs place volunteers directly in communities for short-term periods of a week to a year and enable volunteers to serve in areas of human development and support local leaders and citizens to create new opportunities. Our programs are based upon four primary concepts – taking responsibility for safety, delivering maximum impact in our service, creating a positive impression of the United States, and bringing the experience home for our communities. Read more about AUA programs under the “Our Programs” tab on the homepage.
4. What is the AUA Directory? The AUA Directory is the premiere resource for Americans to identify short-term volunteer opportunities that build people-to-people partnerships in Muslim majority countries. The AUA Directory provides information on each organization’s programs, their cost, when they send volunteers, and other relevant details. Each AUA Directory profile also includes information from volunteer alumni along with Creative Learning’s observations on the suitability of the program for different types of prospective volunteers. To read more about the AUA Directory and how it was created, click here. To search the AUA Directory, click here. It is free, you just need to register. The Directory was published in March of 2011 and updated in 2012.
5. Why does the AUA Directory only promote volunteerism across the Muslim World? Volunteer opportunities exist throughout the world and AUA encourages volunteerism world-wide. Until the launch of AUA, there was no initiative that promoted and supported Americans volunteering in the Muslim World. On the other hand, there are hundreds if not thousands of initiatives and programs that support volunteering in individual countries or geographic regions, like the Americas or Southeast Asia.
6. Is my pledge to become one of America’s Unofficial Ambassadors binding? By pledging, you are making a good-faith commitment to be a part of something bigger than yourself and to serve as a volunteer in development in the Muslim World. You are pledging to represent your country, your community, and yourself in an act of peace-building. You are the only person who can make that binding and true.
7. How do I fulfill my pledge? Volunteer full-time for at least a week somewhere in the Muslim World in an area like education, health, or civil society, and support local leaders and citizens in building opportunities within their community. In the process, represent yourself and your country in the best and most humble fashion you can.
8. Why should I volunteer? Your life will change. You’ll challenge yourself. You’ll see the world in a different way. You’ll meet people you aren’t currently able to imagine. You’ll travel to places that you perhaps only dreamed of going to before. Volunteering is a way to support your community. In the 21st Century, our communities are bigger than the neighborhood where we live. You’ll be a part of building a movement that is bigger than yourself.
9. What if I pledge and then decide not to volunteer? There will be fewer people-to-people connections made, less people who will benefit from the unique perspective and resources that you are able to offer, and you will miss out on doing something great that will likely change your life. You don’t have to worry. We won’t track you down, wave your pledge before you, and demand service. Life happens, we all do our best.
10. When do I have to volunteer by? There is no timeline. You should volunteer when you are able to, when you can afford to, and when it is the right time in your life. That said, the sooner the better. We are at a turning point in history, and the more people who volunteer in development now and who make the effort to build people-to-people partnerships, the better our future. We’ll be in touch along the way and will want to know when you serve. Our goal is for 1000 Americans to volunteer in the next five years.
11. Do I have to worry about my safety while volunteering? Volunteering abroad can be an exhilarating and life-changing experience that opens up new worlds and possibilities. Wherever you volunteer, though, whether that is at your local soup kitchen or in a youth club in Casablanca, you have to take responsibility for your own safety.
12. Why should I register to become an AUA member and join the AUA Network? By registering with AUA, you will have full access to the AUA Directory and our AUA resources page. Members of the AUA Network are invited to participate in our monthly AUA Network webinars as well as our mentoring program. They also are able to share lessons learned and best practices in our LinkedIn group. AUA Network webinars range in topics from how to finance your volunteer experience to best practices in cross-cultural interactions. Our mentoring program connects you with an experienced mentor who is knowledgable in the part of the world you are interested in or the functional area in which you’ll be volunteering. Registering with our website and joining the AUA Network are both free.
13. What is a Mosaic Scholarship? The AUA Mosaic Scholarship is a program to support volunteers wishing to serve in the Muslim World and seeking to represent the diversity of America. Each scholarship recipient defines his or her own diversity.
14. Do I have to apply to AUA to go abroad? No. Prospective volunteers apply directly to volunteer-sending or hosting organizations.
15. How is AUA funded? The AUA initiative is funded privately by citizens (like you), companies, and organizations that are interested in building peace through service between America and the Muslim World. To support AUA click here.
16. Who can I speak with to learn more about AUA? Contact our Program Coordinator, Stefan Cornibert. Stefanc(at)Creativelearning.org.