July 10, 2024

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino has announced that 21 college-bound high school seniors have participated in its Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) during Washington Week, June 23–29. YAP is an annual summer program supported by Ford Philanthropy that fosters the next generation of community-conscious leaders in the arts, sciences and humanities. From July 8 to Aug. 2, the young ambassadors will travel to one of 19 Smithsonian partner or affiliate museums across the United States to complete community-centered practicums.

“We’re excited to welcome and introduce this new cohort of exceptional students to the Smithsonian and the National Museum of the American Latino,” said Jorge Zamanillo, director of the museum. “Thanks to Ford, these young ambassadors will expand their horizons and enrich communities nationwide.”

The five-week program began with Washington Week, a weeklong seminar at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., where young ambassadors met curators, collections managers and other experts for a behind-the-scenes look at museum operations and the Institution’s growing Latino collections. This year’s program focused on how representation, technology and sustainability shape our shared future. Recordings of select programs will be available on the museum’s YouTube channel.

During the community-centered practicum, the ambassadors will work and learn alongside museum professionals supporting education and outreach programs throughout the contiguous United States and Puerto Rico. In 2024, YAP will place ambassadors at museums in San Diego; Kansas City, Missouri; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Portland, Oregon, to advance the Smithsonian’s commitment to reaching rural and underrepresented communities.

At the end of the practicum, the young ambassadors will join the YAP Alumni Network, which aims to transform high school graduates into college-educated professionals poised for success and community-centered leadership throughout their careers. The network offers alumni continuing education and professional development opportunities and fosters local community engagement.

Ford Philanthropy has supported YAP since 2008, allowing students to develop and use their leadership skills and knowledge in their communities.

About the National Museum of the American Latino

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American was established by Congress in 2020 to advance the representation, understanding and appreciation of Latino history and culture in the United States. The museum operates the Smithsonian’s first exhibition space dedicated to the Latino experience, the Molina Family Latino Gallery, at the National Museum of American History. The American Latino Museum also expands scholarly research, public programs, digital content, collections and more. Connect with the museum at latino.si.edu and follow @USLatinoMuseum on Facebook, Instagram and X.

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