Just about a year ago, a handful of friends who attended our CIEE World Government program in Brussels, Belgium, decided to organize to give youth a voice on world affairs and policy issues. The Foreign Policy Youth Collaborative was born. A platform where teens can access curated resources and exchange to form their own opinion and perspective. We virtually sat down with Jordan Naddaf, one FPYC's founding member.
Can you tell us a little bit about FPYC and the role CIEE played in your story?
In creating FPYC, we wanted to create a platform that would allow teens to come together and discuss foreign policy, gaining the tools they need to fulfill their potential as activists. Our mission has three core values: education (gaining background knowledge about foreign policy), conversation (talking about difficult topics in a constructive way with others), and motivation (making an impact in the foreign policy world). Our wonderful teacher at our CIEE Program, Katya Long, gave us all the tools we needed to understand foreign policy fundamentals in order to put together our own platform for teens. She also helped us practice constructive dialogue and identify key issues in the foreign policy world today.
How is everything going today?
This year has been eventful. We went from a small 12 person organization to a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit in a matter of 5 months. The process was draining, but incredibly worth it. After going viral on tiktok, we received thousands of applications over a 4 month period, with an average acceptance rate of 17%. We receive thousands of website visitors every month, and have almost 1,000 subscribers to our newsletter, the majority of which are not part of FPYC themselves. We have a team of more than 200 people who are now actively more engaged with foreign policy every single day, meaning that even without considering the external reach of the organization, we have achieved our mission of highlighting youth voices within foreign policy every single day. Our TikTok, which went viral in June of 2020, has more than 3,000 followers, and our socials are growing quickly. We have hundreds of written pieces up on our website, including entertainment picks, op-eds, article bias analyses, editorials, and comparative articles.
What are you most proud of since launch?
With the large base that FPYC has, we have been able to complete our mission every single day. This can be through hosting informational trivia nights, facilitating a debate tournament, launching an ambassador club program at local schools in Philadelphia, publishing OpEds, editorials, article bias analysis’, or weekly entertainment pics circulating foreign policy. We have been able to highlight teen’s voices not only across the political spectrum, but also across the world. We are also proud of the ability to expand our mission to encompass broader goals with the increasing resources we have been able to attain.
Describe your team and how it’s evolved since launch.
Our team began with 12 alum who stayed on board after the program’s completion, and has now expanded to encompass over 230 teenagers across more than 10 countries. Our team has grown from a tight-knit group with messy boundaries to a complex and well-oiled machine with well-defined departments, an executive structure, a legal board, and dozens of task-forces working on initiatives at any given time. We’ve become focused and precise in our goals, building a business model that works best for us as teenagers and full-time students.
Are any of you making plans to study abroad again? If so: where and to study what topic?
Both of us are considering studying at a university abroad. We are both interested in majoring in International Relations, with slight differences in career pursuit. Maayan is interested in eventually pursuing a law degree, while Jordan is interested in pursuing a PhD in linguistics post-grad. We are both considering options in the UK, France, Switzerland, and Belgium!