The United States Administration and State Department
In September 2011, YaLa representatives were invited to the U.S. State Department and White House in Washington DC in order to introduce YaLa to key players in the U.S. Administration. Since the visit, strong ties have been established with the State Department under the leadership of Secretary Hillary Clinton, who opened the First Annual YaLa Online Conference (link). Among the including a meeting in February 2012 with the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, with Palestinian and Israeli YaLa members. A meeting was held in April with U.S. Acting Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Ambassador Kathleen Stephens wherein YaLa participated along with other organizations in a presentation of joint Palestinian-Israeli initiatives.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
YaLa-Young Leader also enjoys strong ties with the United Nations and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Thus far the cooperation has resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding as well as cooperation on international events. Director General Irina Bokova participated in the First Annual YaLa Online Conference and YaLa representatives are regularly invited to speak at UNESCO events. In particular, two YaLa representatives spoke at the “United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine” held in May 2012 in Geneva.
Italian Development Cooperation
Under the leadership of Amb. Elisabetta Belloni, Director General of the Development Cooperation Department of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Development Cooperation has become a strategic partner of YaLa-Young Leaders. As part of this partnership, Amb. Belloni has participated in YaLa’s online conferences and the Italian Development Cooperation has become a financial supporter of the movement.
As part of YaLa’s ties with the U.S. State Department, and specifically with the Office of Global Youth Issues directed by Special Advisor to the Secretary Ronan Farrow, Israeli YaLa members will be taking part in the first U.S. Youth Council in the MENA region, which is being established by the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. As the number of Youth Councils throughout the region grows, the aim is to have YaLa representatives in each council and for YaLa to serve as a meeting point between the councils as part of YaLa’s efforts to facilitate cooperation, sharing of information and partnerships.
Clinton Global Initiative University Summit (CGIU)
In March 2012, YaLa was also invited to the Clinton Global Initiative University Summit (CGIU) in Washington DC to present the YaLa Online Academy (see next section). Participation in CGIU 2012 enabled the YaLa Academy to become a registered commitment at CGIU and to be presented to a wide variety of organizations and initiatives the world over. The March 2012 visit was also utilized to further connections with USAID and the U.S. State Department’s Global Youth Issues.