GILBERT, ARIZ. (August 17, 2023) — In July, Gilbert Sister Cities concluded the 21st iteration of the Youth Ambassador exchange program. Beginning in mid-June, Kyaira Carter (Higley High School), Jagoda Gliniak (Gilbert Classical Academy), Amara Manning (Higley High School), and David Wang (Gilbert Classical Academy) hosted students from Northern Ireland: Lucia McIlroy, Natalia Dzieciatko, Niamh McAllister, and Matthew Byrne, in Gilbert for two weeks before traveling to Northern Ireland to experience all that the beautiful Antrim & Newtownabbey borough had to offer. 

While in Gilbert, students participated in a tour of the Gilbert Public Safety Training Facility and Town Hall, hosted by Mayor Brigette Peterson, and attended an All-American BBQ with Gilbert Sister Cities board members. In Antrim & Newtownabbey, they volunteered with Parkrun in various locations around the borough. They also attended a BBQ hosted by Mayor, Councillor Mark Cooper, Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rosie Kinnear, alongside the Chief Executive, Jacqui Dixon, and Elected Members to speak about their experience in the program.

“The Gilbert Sister Cities Youth Ambassador Program is so rewarding for the students and the adults involved as well. When you talk about the program with parents of former youth ambassadors, resoundingly, they mention how much stronger their child’s interpersonal skills are. They also gained valuable essay writing and interviewing skills, and, most importantly, made lifelong friendships with their fellow ambassadors and exchange partners,” said Lori Schuermann, Gilbert Sister Cities board member and Chair of the Youth Ambassador program. “Amara, David, Jagoda, and Kyaira did a tremendous job representing Gilbert at home and abroad, and we look forward to seeing what they will accomplish throughout the next year and how they will mentor our new applicants as well. We encourage any junior in Gilbert to apply for our 2024 Program.”

Gilbert Sister Cities will host an Information Night for the 2024 Youth Ambassador Program on Thursday, September 14 at 7:00 PM at Sonoma Ranch Elementary before applications open on Monday, September 18. Gilbert Sister Cities will also host an Essay Clinic, open to all juniors who may need help with college, scholarships, or Gilbert Sister Cities application essays, on Thursday, September 21. Any junior living in Gilbert or attending a Gilbert or Higley school is welcome to apply. 
About Gilbert Sister Cities
Established in 1998 as a community-supported nonprofit organization, Gilbert Sister Cities brings the world together through cultural, educational, trad, and sports programs that promote international and intercultural knowledge and understanding. Gilbert has two sister cities: Antrim-Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland (1998) and Leshan, China (2002); as of this summer, it has sent over 60 high school students abroad. More information is available at

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