Train to Become an International Family Diplomat

Why?

Across the world, most people value family, yet families are not usually represented in the decisions that governments, business, nonprofits and media make that affect families.  Learning Life’s Family Diplomacy Initiative (FDI) aims to empower families to participate in decision-making at local to global levels so that their needs, concerns and aspirations are heard to help build a more caring world.  For that to happen we need skilled, committed Family Diplomats (FDs): volunteers ages 14 and older around the world who can speak and advocate effectively to governments, businesses, nonprofits and media about the needs, concerns and aspirations of families.   

What?

In 2022, Learning Life is excited to launch our FDI Training Program. (Note: the training will be similar in 2023; check back here for updates by March 2023.)  The Training is occurring in two parts from July 10 to October 23 via Zoom.  Part 1 is open to everyone qualified who would like to be an FD trainee.  Part 2 is for up to 20 selected FD trainees, and comes with modest cash stipends and awards (see “Benefits?” below for details).  

Part 1: July 10-August 21: Learn about (a) trends, patterns and issues facing families across the world, plus (b) citizen diplomacy (i.e., ordinary people engaging together in world affairs) in order to develop your basic knowledge as a family-diplomat-in-training.  

Part 2: August 28-October 30:  Learn about storytelling, then practice and perform a family story of your own.  The ability to tell family stories effectively is one powerful way to speak to the needs, concerns and aspirations of families as a family diplomat.  Thus, in Part 2, FD trainees will each create their own family story about their own family or a family they know, connect it to a wider issue or topic (happiness or depression, health, love, drug abuse, violence, poverty, wealth, corruption, inequality or equality, immigration, refugee crises, faith and religion, gay rights, climate change, war and/or peace, etc.), practice their stories together in our weekly meetings, culminating in performance of their stories in front of a live international audience.  

Who?

You are eligible to participate in Part 1 as an FD trainee if you:

1. Are at least 14 years old.

2. Have a strong, reliable-enough internet connection to participate in live Zoom video meetings.

3. Speak English at a level where you feel confident you can clearly and effectively speak/tell a family story to an audience in English, without reading your story.

4. Are interested and motivated to learn about citizen diplomacy and family life worldwide.

For Part 2, in addition to the four eligibility criteria above, here are other criteria Learning Life will consider in selecting up to 20 participating FD trainees:

1. Attendance: Participants who attend at least 5 of the 7 meetings in Part 1 (every Sunday from July 10 to August 21) will be preferenced for admission to Part 2.

2. Participation: Participants who actively participate in Part 1 will be preferenced for admission to Part 2.  “Actively participate” means: ask questions, answer questions, volunteer your thoughts by voice or by text via the Zoom chat, and have your camera on at all times, unless your internet connection strength does not allow you to have both audio and video on at the same time.    

3. Prior engagement: Participants who were highly engaged with Learning Life’s Family Diplomacy Initiative in 2020 and/or 2021 will be preferenced for admission to Part 2.  

4. Country and issue diversity: We are aiming for family stories addressing diverse issues from storytellers in different regions of the world.

Note: In Part 2, while we will focus on the family stories of those selected, everyone interested is encouraged to participate to listen, learn, and provide feedback to encourage and help our storytellers improve their stories.  Also, for both Part 1 and 2, Learning Life does not require but strongly encourages FD trainees to participate as two or more family members, such as two or more siblings, a mother and daughter, two parents and child, grandfather and grandchildren, or else.

When?

The FD training starts Sunday, July 10, 12:00-1:30pm New York/Washington DC time, and will occur every Sunday same time until Sunday, October 23, 2022.

Where?

The FD Training will occur strictly via Zoom.  There will be no in-person meetings to save costs and allow more people worldwide to participate.

Cost?

There are no fees for the FD Training in 2022, but you will need to pay for your own internet connection cost to participate in Parts 1 and 2.

For those of you who can afford to donate $100, $250, $500, or $1,000, or whatever amount to support the FD trainees, please do so here now and write “FD training” in the “Note” box.  If you donate $100 to $1,000, you get the benefits of becoming part of our new Democracy & Diplomacy Community, which offers members-only recognition and stories, special event invitations, plus sponsorship opportunities.

If you are donating on behalf of someone you love and/or would like to participate in the FD Training, please write “FD training gift” plus the name and email of the person on whose behalf you are making this gift in the “Note” box on the donation page.  We will send them a “thank you” email acknowledging your gift and inviting them to participate.

Benefits?

All those who complete Part 1 of the FD Training will receive an electronic certificate of completion, with or without honors, by November, upon completion of Parts 2 in late October.  The requirements to gain a certificate:  

Part 1 Certificate of Completion: 

All participating family members must:

  1. Attend at least 5 of 7 FD Training meetings every Sunday, 12:00-1:30pm (New York/Washington DC time) from July 10 to August 21.  
  2. Actively participate in at least three of the meetings they attend.  See above, under “Who?”, for what “actively participate” means.  
  3. Complete both the training (a) pre-survey scheduled for Part 1’s first meeting on July 10, and (b) the post-survey scheduled for Part 1’s last meeting on August 21.

Part 1 Certificate of Completion, with Honors: 

All participating family members must:

  1. Attend 7 of 7 FD Training meetings every Sunday, 12:00-1:30pm (New York/Washington DC time) from July 10 to August 21.  
  2. Actively participate in at least five of the meetings they attend.  See above, under “Who?”, for what “actively participate” means. 
  3. Same as above.
  4. Perform at at least a B (85% or higher) level on the post-survey’s knowledge questions.

Part 2 Certificate of Completion: 

All participating family members must:

  1. Attend at least 7 of 10 FD Training meetings every Sunday, 12:00-1:30pm (New York/Washington DC time) from August 28 to October 23.  
  2. Actively participate in at least five of the meetings they attend.  See above, under “Who?”, for what “actively participate” means.  
  3. Perform a video-recorded story at the start (late-August to early September) and end (October) of the Phase 2 training.

Part 2 Certificate of Completion, with Honors: 

All participating family members must:

  1. Attend 9 of 10 FD Training meetings every Sunday, 12:00-1:30pm (New York/Washington DC time) from August 28 to October 23.  
  2. Actively participate in at least seven of the meetings they attend.  See above, under “Who?”, for what “actively participate” means. 
  3. Same as above.
  4. Perform at at least a B (85% or higher) level in improvement from the pre-training to post-training performance of your story.   

Cash stipends and awards: 

Each Part 2 FD trainee will receive $100 (for trainees participating alone) or $150 (trainees participating with one or more family members) after completing the Training on October 23, so long as he/she completes the requirements for at least the Part 2 Certificate of Completion above.  In addition, the three most improved storytellers will each receive $100 prizes.

A group of Learning Life volunteers will determine the honors certificate and awards by scoring the Part 2 trainees’ pre-training and post-training video-recorded story performances.  These volunteers are not storytelling experts, just ordinary people who will use the same story-scoring rubric to numerically evaluate each performance.  Important: the judges will be evaluating who are the most improved storytellers, not the best storytellers.

The certificate recipients and award winners will be announced at Learning Life’s annual fundraiser, tentatively scheduled on Thursday, December 1, 2022, 6:30-9:30pm New York time.  This event will be recorded for those who cannot make the event online or in-person, and the certificate and honors winners will be announcement via email and social media after the event.

All stipends and awards will be in U.S. dollars, and paid via Paypal.

Questions?

If you have questions, feel free to contact Learning Life at email@learninglife.info.

Ready to Apply?

If you feel you are qualified and motivated to participate in the first year of this extraordinary international FDI Training Program, please: (1) fill out this application survey, then (2) this training pre-survey.  The surveys should take you no more than 25 minutes total to complete.