* 2009 *
"Having been made aware of the dangers of visiting Mexico, I was very concerned on the safety aspects. However, I knew immediately I entered the Arrivals Hall at the Airport in Mexico City and met Victor and his team from Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, that everything and everyone would be very safe and looked after well. The care and attention to detail of the team, and their willingness and ability to arrange for everyone to be 'in the right place at the right time' was exceptional. An added bonus was the tremendous knowledge of our guide from Mexico, who gave us some great information about the city as we traveled in the vehicle. I would recommend Friendship Ambassadors Foundation for their excellent service; they were wonderful, and made the experience of attending the United Nations DIP NGO Conference on Disarmament one to be remembered."
Kate Moore, Director of Membership, Soroptimist International
“On my visit to Mexico City in September 2009 I had the benefit of having the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation take care of all my logistical arrangements. Thanks to the dedication of their staff, their superb efficiency and excellent organization all the arrangements – flights, hotel, transfer etc.– worked smoothly and I had a positively memorable experience on this trip.”
- Pal Sidhu,
Program Vice President,
“The Grosse Pointe South choir’s trip to NYC was well organized and very exciting. We so enjoyed the UN and the opportunity to sing for the UN (International) school ... (T)he workshop with Gavin Creel – and then watching him in Hair – was an experience our students will never forget. I have traveled with FAF since 1976 and each trip has been a new and exciting experience. By the way, our rooms ... were amazing. We were only a half of a block off Times
Square and I could lie in my bed and watch Times Square’s ball turn from red, to blue, to green. What memories we will all have. Thank you.”
- Ellen J. Bowen, Director of Choral Activities,
Grosse Pointe South High School
* 2008 *
I wish to thank you, FAF founder Cappy Devlin, and the Friendship Ambassadors staff for the courtesies extended to the Iowa Kids, their parents, and me during our concert opportunities in New York City at the United Nations and the Statue of Liberty. I also wish to thank you for the honor
of performing in front of such a worldwide, appreciative audience at the Culture Night Banquet. It was truly a memorable night they and I will never forget. This was one of several tours we have taken with FAF and every tour has included memorable experiences still remembered by those who participated."
Dale Cunion, Ex.Dir., The Iowa Kids,
“Our experience in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai exceeded all expectations, especially the incredibly hospitality shown to us in Sanchung. What a special occasion!”
- William Carson, Coe College,
"First of all, let me tell you that the tour was Wonderful! We couldn't have asked for better more
receptive audiences. Secondly, whatever you do ... keep [FAF Artistic Director] Yin-Chu Jou. I couldn't have asked for a more gracious,
"Johnny on the spot", kind, loving, helpful person to travel with! And I know very well that it takes a team to make something like this come to fruition. So THANK YOU ALL,
- Kim Clayton, Founder and Director,
Clayton Productions, August 2008
"Thank you so much for helping with our wonderful trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong. We hope to see you again!"
Coe College Jazz Band , August 2008
"Thanks again for everything you did for our experience. It was certainly a first-class operation, and you were friendly, charming, professional, and organized."
- Dr Christopher J. Nicholas, Coe College Bands Soloist; Associate Director of Bands, University of Wyoming Department of Music; August 2008
"The Alliance Francaise of Greenwich would like to thank you and your Artistic Director Yin-Chu Jou for your efforts in including [us] in the Greenwich Choral Society trip to France honoring the Greenwich/Vienne Sister City 2008 initiative... The trip w was seamless, due in no small part to your advance planning ... We thank you and your team for making this historic trip so memorable."
Alliance Francaise of Greenwich, July 2008
"I just returned from the Collegiate Chorale Tour to Israel - one of the professional singers in the group. It was a great privilege to be on this tour. Working with Zubin Mehta & the Israel Philharmonic was a as musical treat for all of us. I very much enjoyed the tours provided for the group. I want to highlight Lillian, our tour guide. She is a big
bigger-than-life personality and she made everything come alive, investing so much of herself in her descriptions. I only wish I could have seen more. Next time!
It was a pleasure touring with her. Thank you for making this trip so special for us."
- Jim Fredericks Cunningham,
Collegiate Chorale Singer, July 2008
"We truly appreciate (and recognize) the effort that you made for us. Traveling to China during the
Olympics year has definitely made some things a lot harder than they would have been otherwise! Again, very sincere thanks for resolving everything so successfully."
- Vicky Barham, Tour Coordinator,
Stella Boreales, July 2008
“Thank you so much for your generous donation to the New Orleans Children’s Chorus, which will be used to help us rebuild our organization in the wake of Hurricane Katrina ... Thank you for your care, concern, and financial support at this difficult time.”
Dupont, New Orleans Children’s Chorus Artistic Director, July 2008
"I appreciate your time and effort, am grateful for your support and am quite overwhelmed with pride to read the amount of effort you have made on behalf of our trip. You have a true concept of what diplomacy involves and effect it repeatedly."
- John McIntyre, Tour Coordinator, Greenwich Choral Society, June 2008
"The San Marino Chamber Singers want to thank Friendship Ambassador Foundation for organizing, monitoring and executing our concert tour to Japan and Taiwan in April, 2008. The entire trip was thoughtfully planned and extremely well-executed. The performance venue in Japan was top notch and the staff from FAF (especially our coordinator, Ms. Yin-Chu Jou) spent endless hours making sure every detail regarding the concert was done well. We couldn't have asked for a better experience in Japan. We highly recommend the service of FAF to anyone who might be interested in collaborating with them ... They are an amazing non-profit organization that has done things right by us!"
- SMCS Conductor Howard Cheung, April 2008
"The devastation that hit New Orleans was only viewed from afar. When we arrived there and met the people it was clear to us that they were just beginning to build back. The people were so appreciative and thankful that we had chosen New Orleans as our destination city. I was humbled by this experience. I am glad we were able to help using music.
I loved that music was an integral part of their daily lives. It was wonderful getting to know the choristers from the New Orleans Children’s Chorus and their director. The combined chorus in the church sounded amazing.
FAF was wonderful. The hotel was beautiful. They arranged a great rehearsal space and were very accommodating to our needs. The concert exchange was wonderful and was the highlight of the tour."
- Robin Chenot & Chris Ann Powers, Directors, Greenwich PS Honor Choir, April
"I have been traveling with the Friendship Ambassadors since 1983. My gymnastics team has been to Romania, Greece, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, England, Wales, France, Austria and Germany. We love the interaction with gymnasts from other countries and many of the team members have pen pals and friends they keep in contact with for years. On the trip to Austria this summer, we had a reunion with a girl from a gymnastics team in South Africa that we met 4 years ago. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is very true. In looking back over the pictures from our trip, I see smiles and more smiles! Thanks FA for another great
- Cindy Bickman & the Chattooga Gymnastics Team, July 2007
"The Movement Laboratory Youth Ensembles' "Goodwill thru Dance Program" has traveled with FAF for over 20 years. Ten years ago we traveled to Italy and developed artistic relationships and personalized cultural exchanges. After years of communication we were able to renew these connections with young artists / students and professional colleagues. We are exploring an exchange for a company to come to the USA as our guest in 2008. Partners in Padua, Rome and Florence hosted our dancers with great enthusiasm and respect. Thanks FAF for helping Judy Williams Henry and her Movement Laboratory Youth Ensemble represent the USA as "Children of Hope; Children of Peace". We will continue to create, illuminate and teach peace."
- Judy Williams Henry, Founding Artistic Director, Movement Laboratory, July 2007
“... Davina and Ildiko have been nothing short of delightful. They both have extended themselves beyond any expectations with courtesy, responsiveness, assistance and concern. I am extraordinarily impressed with not only what FAF does but with the members who support and run
Movement Laboratory, July
"... the trip was fabulous. I think everyone was very happy with everything about it. The concert and mass venues were wonderful, and it was very exciting to perform in such live spaces, with great audiences. Hotels were great - guides were charming, knowledgeable, and helpful. Thank you so much for all your work!"
- Mary Kay Wilson, Choir of the Sound, June 2007
thoroughly enjoyed our time in Scandinavia and we all know that this
was due to your countless hours on our behalf.”
Master Adult Chorale to Scandinavia,
The trip was fabulous! Everything was really spectacular. Thank you so much for all your work, and for arranging the most satisfactory,
well-organized and fun trip we could possibly have wanted. Thanks so much, and congratulations on a job well
done! We would love work with you again!"
- Ellen Kaplan, Professor, Smith College Theatre Department, May 2007
a phenomenal tour it was! The students, staff and I are very excited
about the tour, and sad that it is over.”
Friends University Choir to Germany,
"Thank you so much for all you achieved in creating this memorable tour for the Prescott Master Chorale to Scandinavia. These countries contain some of the most stunning scenery, remarkable historical sites, and the friendliest people in the world. Our concert audiences were very enthusiastic. The cost of this tour was very reasonable for what we received."
- James L Klein, Director, Prescott Master Chorale, May/June 2007
"Robin and I would like to thank you for making our trip to Toronto a wonderful one. I know the kids had a BLAST (and so did we). From start to finish, the tour was well organized - thanks to you. We absolutely loved meeting Carol and her choir..... what a great opportunity - the exchange went very well. We really look forward to working closely with you and FAF in the future."
- Robin Chenot & Chris Ann Powers, Directors, Greenwich PS Honor Choir, April 2007
“It was a wonderful, wonderful trip. We’re all home, safe & sound now with glorious echoes & scenes in our heads & hearts. Thank you for your patience & persistence & attention to detail all the way along the line to liftoff, And all went well in country too — The drivers were excellent & the students were speechless & happy. So, yes, I’ve appreciated how solid & consistent & thoughtful you’ve been, & flexible, & imaginative! All the best. You certainly ARE the best! Many, many thanks.”
- Devon McNamara,
Leader, West Virginia Wesleyan College, June 2006
“This trip has been beyond our expectations thanks to Friendship Ambassadors. If EagleSong’s trip had consisted of nothing but Friday’s activities, it would have exceeded all expectations and been worthwhile. Never had we been in a tour where all performances were greeted with tears. Several times I found myself thinking how much better are tears of gratitude than tears of loss. Our entire community is buzzing with the stories of EagleSong’s great trip and how much it meant to the people in Louisiana! We feel like true ‘Friendship Ambassadors’ and thank you and the entire organization for making it possible.”
- Gary Fry, EagleSong Leader, April 2006
"What a wonderful, wonderful trip we had! I cannot thank you enough for all the hard work - everything was arranged very, very well... we felt so taken care of! With much gratitude and appreciation, Sondra Harnes"
Children's Choir, WCC/FAF Peace Camp Director, August 2005
"Every one of us in the
Taiwan Delegation would like to convey our deepest appreciation for your hard work, effort, friendliness, and hospitality for us. It was an unforgettable voyage - you made my dream come true"
- Tony Jian, Group Leader, Taiwan Delegation
"The Youth Assembly 2005 was a successful and engaging event and the initiative that your organization put forth was much appreciated. Please accept this as an expression of WFUNA's wishes for even deeper and continued cooperation with FAF in the future."
- Incia Zaffar, World Federation of United Nations Associations
"I just wanted to let you know that the kids got back safely, happily. They all had really positive things to say about the trip. I thank you for putting this trip together and especially from an educational standpoint the kids really had an amazing experience. Thanks."
- Jennifer Bell, Director of Foreign Languages, Nyack High School, February 2005
"The trip was a wonderful success. Our guides were excellent; we got to sing at the Vatican for a Mass in St. Peter's and it was wonderful. The educational tours were excellent and the guides for them were well organized. The final dinner was
excellent. Thank you for your work; it was good working with you again."
- Ellen Bowen, Grosse Point High School to Italy
Our concert tour show is entitled, 'A Voice to the World.' Did we accomplish that title on this tour with Friendship? Yes. Did we make a
difference? Yes. Were our lives enriched by the experience? Yes. Have we helped bridge cultural gaps and understanding? Yes. Would I want Maria Mandova again as our guide? Absolutely! I would trust her with my life!
- D. Kim Clayton, Synergy, August 2003
Our wonderful trip to Romania and Bulgaria with Friendship Ambassadors was a positive, life changing cultural and social experience. We learned so much about the world and Eastern Europe… I truly believe that the values, goals, and accomplishments of FAF are critical to world peace.”
- Dr. Lyn Schenbeck, Agnes Scott College in Georgia, July
“I must tell you how much we enjoyed our trip. My students and I cannot stop talking about it. This is a trip I would do again and certainly recommend to my choral colleagues. I give you all glowing reports!”
- Rick Bushey, Kearsley Choir, March
“The whole tour would want to thank you for everything. You really went “beyond the call of duty” in getting us from place to place and understanding our needs. The memories we have are precious and will last the rest of our lives.”
- Tony Howard, PBS producer, Bowling Green Madrigal Singers Tour, April
“We are very pro-FAF. In today’s “make a buck at all costs” world, they are more concerned with service and furthering positive cultural exchanges as a means of creating a better world. Sounds kind of corny, but it’s the truth.”
- Kathy Shannon, West Virginia University, February
“Thank you for all of your help in getting our trip planned and accomplished. It was a wonderful experience for us, and the concert venues and arrangements were the best we have ever had.”
- Dr. Annabell Zikmund, University of Nebraska at Kearney, June
“Just wanted to let you know that the tour was fantastic. The concert venues ... were exceptional and we had much better audiences than I expected. ... an experience I know none of us will ever forget ... Thank you so much for all of your hard work on this tour. Things went very smoothly. Our guides were wonderful and I know that you ordered the incredible weather just for us.”
- Luanne Clarke, Choral Faculty, Alfred University, May
“It was a marvelous tour, smooth, brilliant with daily wonders ... we were really happy with it ... in fact ALL of the accommodations were incredible; quite beyond the beyonds, as the Irish say.”
McNamara, West Virginia Wesleyan College, June
“What an extraordinary experience this tour was; both as an artistic and traveling endeavor. I must offer my sincere appreciation and thanks to you and to everyone at Friendship Ambassadors that help make this trip a huge success ... our experiences in the Czech Republic and Hungary were sensational. I think the experience for the girls will be one they will carry with them always, and one we will all grow from. ... the dancing was magnificent ... It is my sincere hope that we at the NWCA continue our relationship with Friendship Ambassadors and hopefully do more of these marvelous tours ... This was the BEST!”
- Mimi Wallace, Director of Dance, Northern Westchester Center for the Arts, July
“We just wanted you to know how much we enjoyed the Ladue Chapel trip to Hungary ... Everything worked out well and we really appreciated all of your help and tips. We wanted you to know we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Thanks for all your help!”
- Sharon & Ralph Thaman, Ladue Chapel Choir, August
“Thank you! I would love the opportunity to repay you for the invaluable gift you gave me!” “Thank you for the wonderful hospitality; you made it even more enjoyable. I hope our paths cross again.” “I felt like I was traveling with family!”
- Newman Theatre Tour Participants - Jewish Festival performances; August
“We just wanted to write a HUGE Thank You! We loved our exchange so much. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. We all came back better people because of the experiences we had there.”
- Nannette Watts, Utah State University, April
“Five stars to your organization for hosting and accommodating our group so beautifully! There wasn’t a problem - not one - in the entire trip. The hotels, staffs, and drivers were splendid. The breakfasts - perfect! Our trip was wonderful beyond words.”
- Sarah Wiideman, Cranbrook Academy of Art, January
“We look forward to your assistance to groups seeking cultural counterparts. USIS will refer questions to your volunteers and staff for action. It's good to know that the Foundation can be such a great help.”
- Mr. Greg Lagana, US Embassy Rome, February
“We are writing to express our gratitude and appreciation for the invaluable assistance provided by Friendship Ambassadors Foundation to the 3rd International Festival of Movement and Dance on the Volga, held in Yaroslavl, Russia. FAF offered both professional and high-quality assistance and truly made a difference for all involved.”
- Lisa First, U.S. Director, & Nadezhda Proshutinskaya, Russian Director, August
“As in the past, FAF has provided excellent tour management. I really appreciate what FAF has done for me and my students over the past two decades.”
- Dr. Marvin Robertson, Southern Adventist University Choir,
“No one could have had a better time than we did.”
- Virginia Davidson, NY Treble Singers,
“I believe the work that is being done by Friendship Ambassadors is very important, and only by making these connections, person to person and country by country will we, all of humanity, be able to live together in peace and harmony. This is part of the legacy that we must leave to future generations. The message of love, of understanding, is what it is to be human. Viva
- Denise Santiago, Singer,
“First and foremost [the tour] was incredible, an experience I will never forget. … I really appreciate your flexibility and willing ness to work with a group with limited resources. You’re incredible and amazing!”
- Dana Phelps Marshalk, Moving in the Spirit, July 1997