Declaring "Together We Will," Thousands of Teens to Gather to Build a Global Movement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 12, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT Debbie Shemony, 202.857.6691; mailto: dshemony@bbyo.org

ORLANDO, FL—At a time when young people are socializing more online and interacting less in person, thousands of teens are set to converge on Orlando Thursday, February 15 to Monday, February 19 to strengthen a movement of young Jews during the largest gathering of its kind. With over 3,000 teens from 36 countries, and thousands of educators, thought and business leaders, celebrities, political figures and philanthropists coming together for BBYO International Convention (IC) over Presidents Weekend, this epic event will offer opportunities for Jewish teens to connect with their peers and consider how to make the future their own. IC is one of the largest Jewish communal leadership events in North America and the single-largest gathering of Jewish teen leaders worldwide.

Among the many slated to address the crowd at BBYO International Convention 2018 are Aly Raisman, World Champion Gymnast and Best-Selling Author; Jason Kander, CNN & Crooked Media Contributor, and Missouri's 39th Secretary of State; Caryl Stern, President and CEO of UNICEF USA; Josh Peck, Actor and Social Media Influencer; Susan Bro, Mother of Heather Heyer and Co-Founder of The Heather Heyer Foundation; Abby Wambach, Olympic Gold Medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup Champion; and MK Omer Barlev, Member of the Israeli Knesset. There will also be video addresses from Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister.

As attendance at IC skyrockets each year, the event is a case study for teens showing increased demand for high-quality Jewish experiences with their peers. This year’s convention theme, “Together We Will,” speaks to today’s vital need and incredible opportunity for young people to unite communities of all faiths, races and cultures toward shaping a stronger, fairer and more democratic society for all people.

IC 2018 will offer a range of programming throughout the weekend that will focus on empowering and energizing teens to partner with each other to bring new ideas to fruition, including nearly 60 direct service projects and leadership labs at sites throughout the Orlando area. The programming will also spotlight inspiring stories from speakers who took an unlikely path to their current work and place in life. Additionally, the conference will showcase the diversity of the BBYO community, with 235 delegates from 36 countries attending the iconic event. For the first time, delegates from Australia, China, Colombia, Mexico and Spain will join the conference, enhancing BBYO’s celebration of Jewish culture in a way that only BBYO is poised to do.

International Convention will also be home to a gathering of “Movements and Shakers,” sponsored by BBYO, NCSY, NFTY, USY and Young Judaea. This conference of more than 100 professionals and volunteers will meet to explore collaboration opportunities around reaching and inspiring Jewish teens.

“This is going to be a weekend unlike any other, as teens gather in Orlando to interact with diverse and compelling leaders they would not have access to anywhere else,” said Matthew Grossman, Chief Executive Officer of BBYO. “Participants are going to leave with a great deal to think about, and our expectation is that they’ll bring the spirit of creativity and desire for action cultivated here to future endeavors.”

For those unable to attend IC 2018, BBYO will be livestreaming select sessions on Facebook Live. Livestreaming will be accessible on BBYO’s Facebook page, and videos will later be posted on BBYO’s YouTube channel. Schedules for streaming will be posted on BBYO’s International Convention event page.

WHAT: BBYO International Convention (IC) 2018
           Full overview of events available upon request

WHO: 5,000 stakeholders expected, including:

  • TEEN PARTICIPANTS: 3,000+ teens expected (257% increase from 2012) 
    Representation from: 
    • 700 communities worldwide 
    • 440 North American chapters 
    • 45 North American states/districts/provinces 
    • 36 countries
  • ADULT PARTICIPANTS: 2,000+ adults expected
    • More than 300 featured speakers, guests and popular music performers 
    • Alumni, philanthropists, clergy, friends, business and thought leaders 
    • Program educators 
    • Over 100 partners and sponsors 
    • Professional BBYO International staff 
    • Local volunteers and parents

WHEN: February 15–19, 2018; Pre-IC summits begin February 14
WHERE: Multiple locations in Orlando, Florida
Please Note: Schedule and speakers are subject to change.

About BBYO
BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. For more than 90 years, BBYO‘s leadership programs the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA, high school fraternity) and the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG, high school sorority) have been providing exceptional leadership programs and identity enrichment experiences, shaping the confidence and character of more than 400,000 alumni who are among the most prominent figures in business, politics, academia, the arts, and Jewish communal life. Now, BBYO’s network of Jewish teens, alumni, parents, volunteers, and philanthropists serves as the Jewish community’s most valuable platform for delivering to the post Bar/Bat Mitzvah audience fun, meaningful, and affordable experiences. With year-round activities in hundreds of local communities and inspiring world-wide travel experiences, BBYO’s broad program menu enables teens to explore areas of leadership, service, civic engagement, Israel education, and Jewish values.

Please note that BBYO should not be referred to as the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, but rather as “BBYO.”

For more information on BBYO, please visit bbyo.org and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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