Owen Chaffin: I have learned so many new things about diplomacy this week. From seeing first hand how Embassies and Ambassadors operate, learning from simulations about conflicts and situations that others face and getting to know and understand people with different cultures through their food and traditions.
I came here wanting to learn more about conflict resolution and how to effectively communicate with those who may have differing opinions than mine. How to be a problem solver, not a trouble maker. The “I want to be an Ambassador Camp” has done that for me. Given me new tools and ideas on how I can apply diplomacy on not only a world stage but even at our local playgrounds. They have helped me cross many new bridges this week and I am ready and more confident after my time with Luminari to go out on my own. I will apply my knowledge with an open mind and an open heart towards the interesting and diverse people on the new bridges I will cross. Thank you to the amazing team here who gave me this opportunity, I will keep it going.
I am Owen Chaffin and I am proud to be a Teen Ambassador.
Patrick Alexander: The dictionary defines diplomacy as the profession, activity or skill of managing international relations. This is definitely true. All leaders of people in history have had diplomacy, from Caesar, to FDR. It requires communication between states, bravery to ask for what you want, and compassion to work for your country. We went to Ireland and Turkey, saw the careers people made out of diplomacy, and were inspired.
And yet, I feel like the dictionary definition is narrow. Diplomacy takes place everywhere in every relationship. A Movie writer told us about the challenge of finding a compromise to make a film. Small business leaders told us about ethical businesses and the diplomacy it takes to manage them. We simulated the Cuban middle crisis from inside the Kennedy cabinet. We did these things, and we were inspired.
If I were to change the definition of diplomacy, it would be this: The skill to protect all life, the quality of life, and power in life, whenever or however you can. We were able to look to our mentors, our leaders, in how they dealt with us and others, and see diplomacy in a very relevant and important way. When the weather changed, or we had to go to the bathroom, or when certain individuals didn’t show up, they reacted calmly, nicely, and with Diplomacy. We saw these people, and we were excited and better for it.
Hillary Boyzo: I am 13 years old, and I will be going into 9th grade this fall. Like most of my peers, I was nervous because I was going to walk into a room where I didn’t know anyone. Coming into this program, I knew I was going to gain new experiences. Many of the activities have given us skills that we could use in life, including learning Chinese from a very helpful teacher and also how to negotiate. Not only can you use these skills for diplomacy, but also in your own community. The neutral comment segment was something very unexpected but very fun and useful. We all received very unusual gifts, like a sparkly chicken or a sad clown figurine, that we had to find a way to make a neutral comment.
The trip to DC was interesting… with visits to the embassies of Ireland and Turkey, we learned more about each of them and how they interact with our own government. Above all, I enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends. One of the things I will always remember is the way, we as a group, were able to bond through music (from Justin Bieber to Bruno Mars, the power of music is transformative). I would like to thank everyone involved with this camp because it gave me the confidence to speak out, and want to seek out more life experiences.
Ashanti Anderson: Hello, my name is Ashanti, and to start this off I would like to say thank you to the Luminari staff for this great opportunity to learn about being a diplomat and meeting with ambassadors from foreign embassies. My time here has definitely been one to remember. I have learned so much from the three Vs – verbal, vocal, visual – to an introduction to the Chinese language to the impact of journalism and social media. I learned the proper way to introduce myself. I learned negotiation techniques and even evaluated my own values.
The actual experience of going to Washington D.C. to visit the embassies of Ireland and Turkey and talking with the officials there was amazing to me. I personally have never been to an embassy before so that alone was exciting. Learning more about journalism and the risk of being a journalist only furthered my passion of writing and has given me more insight for what a journalist really is. The places where we shared meals, and the monuments we visited were nice. For me, to say this trip was good is an understatement. It was a beautiful experience that helped to shape my perspective. As for my future plans and a career path, I am still unsure. Before this camp, I would have said geneticist or local journalist. Now, I would say geneticist OR national – maybe even international – journalist, OR perhaps even a diplomat some day. I want to say thank you once again for the opportunity to learn the skills and art of diplomacy from many qualified and knowledgeable professionals. I commend you for your work and only hope that more programs like this open up so that more students can participate in opportunities like this. Thank you.
Evan Monaco: Hello, my name is Evan, and I am going to be a freshman this fall. I want to thank you all for being here and listening to our experiences from the Luminari “I Want to Be an Ambassador” Camp. On our trip to D.C., we visited the embassies of Turkey and Ireland and learned a lot. One of the things I took away from both experiences was that every nation has its problems and the only way to resolve them is to use diplomacy.
Diplomacy is a valuable skill that is used to effectively debate, negotiate, and communicate by many world leaders, but also by everyday people in many situations. For my future, I have not thought as far as college, but going into high school I want to work hard and using some of the skills learned in this camp, set myself up for a successful college experience and career path. Thank you.
2018 I Want to be an Ambassador! Camp Photo Albums: