"My mother has instilled the value of community service from an early age, yet Arabesque was my first volunteer experience in the arts. This remarkable festival has been a great experience not only aesthetically, but culturally as well. My mother and I just joined the Friends because we had such a wonderful experience. Shukran, Arabesque!"
- Nawal Ziyadeh, first generation Jordanian-American [daughter of Kwala Nimri, Jordan]
Other Volunteer Opportunities
International/ Multicultural Volunteer Project
The individuals who are Friends today reflect the diversity of the Kennedy Center in the 21st Century. Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser's keen interest in the performing arts of other cultures, reflected in the programming of our international festivals, has changed the face of this institution and has changed the face of the Friends as well. Many more volunteers from other countries have joined the Friends volunteer corps since Mr. Kaiser came on board in 2001. Friends hail from 32 different countries, including Argentina, Bulgaria, Cuba, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Nigeria, Turkey, and Venezuela.
Our current ongoing initiative is the recruitment of volunteers from the international community around the Washington area, either as full-time active Friends or for special projects who support the advocacy of promoting arts volunteerism both in the United States and globally. The Friends International Outreach Committee has been instrumental with the recruitment of these individuals. International/ Multicultural volunteers are members of this committee as well which includes individuals from Turkey, China, and Nicaragua. The overarching theme for the group is Celebrating and Connecting Cultures through Arts Volunteerism.
If you are visiting the U.S. for a temporary assignment (e.g., ex-pat assignment), hail from a country outside the United States with a strong emphasis in the arts, and/or speak at least one foreign language fluently, we would love to hear from you. The Friends Office considers applicants for translation projects and for focus groups addressing international/multicultural matters. We would also love for you to join our team of Festival/Event volunteers who help the Friends staff all the festivals the Center presents throughout the year, including our international/multicultural festivals. For more information, please see Festival/Event Volunteering.
If you are interested in learning more, send your name, address, e-mail address, phone number, country of birth, and any special skills to firstname.lastname@example.org.
. Past training sessions have generated many ideas on how the Friends could be proactive about and generally aware of culturally based differences. Themes addressed have included: "integrating the culture factor into our volunteer work," "concepts that help us describe and learn about world cultures in relation with our Kennedy Center experience, and champions of cultural sensitivity in customer service." Participants have left with an increased awareness of the cultural challenges Friends face while volunteering at the Center, as well as a greater understanding of how culture shapes individuals' perceptions of the world. Sirin Koprucu, an international business consultant, serves as a volunteer consultant for the group.
The theme, Celebrating and Connecting Cultures through Arts Volunteerism, is here to stay. Our international Friends and international/multicultural project volunteers will continue to play a vital role as we strive to serve as a role model for promoting arts volunteerism globally.
Why Arts Volunteerism?
Sirin speaks out about the many possibilities of arts volunteerism across the globe.
"I moved to the U.S. from Turkey in 2002 after getting married to my husband who was a naval officer stationed in Washington, D.C., at the time. My hope to make friends in a new place as well as a new country and my love for the arts took me to the Kennedy Center's Friends Office. I can't believe that it's been four years since that day. I am proud to be part of one of the friendliest communities in town, love sharing my passion for the arts with fellow Friends and our international volunteers who share our vision of promoting arts volunteerism globally."
Sirin Koprucu, International Business Consultant