As the United States welcomes hundreds of visitors at Expo 2020’s USA Pavilion in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 75 young Americans will guide visitors on a journey through its many exhibits.
These USA Pavilion Youth Ambassadors come from 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. They are attending or have attended 78 universities and colleges from a spectrum of educational institutions. Altogether, the ambassadors speak 24 languages.
Rescheduled from 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this celebration of creativity, innovation and world cultures will run from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022
Below, four Youth Ambassadors share a bit about themselves and their visions for the Expo.
Kyla Denwood grew up in Dallas and Chicago and attended Tulane University in New Orleans, where she majored in economics and international development and Spanish. Denwood was also a member of the university’s marching band, which has been invited to perform at the Expo. “My marching band is so excited to bring the musical tradition of New Orleans and the South to the global stage at Expo,” she says.
George Eid is a first-generation Lebanese American from Nashua, New Hampshire. Currently a student at Dartmouth College, Eid speaks French and Arabic, and he hopes to pursue a career in law or international affairs. He heard about the Youth Ambassadors program through Instagram and quickly applied. “As a Youth Ambassador,” said Eid, “I have loved every second of telling my story as a Maronite Lebanese American and showing how an American is not necessarily characterized by a particular race or creed.”
This or That? Get to know our Youth Ambassadors with our weekly short series!
Episode 1: Jheel and Kevin.#USAExpo2020YA #USAExpo2020 #USAPavilion #Expo2020 #Dubai@Statedept @USAinUAE @GlobalTiesUS pic.twitter.com/xsdNGPI8v2
— USA Expo 2020 (@USAExpo2020) October 16, 2021
Alban Martinez is a student at the University of California, San Diego — the first in his family to attend college. His parents are from Oaxaca, Mexico, where his family has Indigenous roots. These ancestral ties, coupled with an internship at the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, informed his chosen career path. “Learning from other countries and seeing what they excel at and how they do it is what made me so passionate about international relations,” he says. “I hope that along with my career, I can learn the strengths of other countries and apply them to one day benefit my local community.”
Salsabila Nurhidajat double majored in political science and cinema and media arts at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nurhidajat speaks Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia. She heard about the World Expo while on a trip to Dubai in 2020 and knew instantly she had to apply to be a Youth Ambassador. “I hope that every guest who comes through the Expo site and explores its pavilions leaves feeling more connected to our global community and more optimistic about our future,” she says.