BALTIMORE, MD—For nearly a century, BBYO has sought to enrich the lives of young people by bringing them together in unique and powerful Jewish environments. The social isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has affected society in many ways, taking an especially acute toll on the mental health and resiliency of our youth. A year after being held as one of the Jewish community’s largest virtual gatherings, BBYO International Convention (IC) will be convening in person once again over Presidents’ Day weekend, February 17–21, 2022, in Baltimore, Maryland, uniting over 2,500 Jewish teens from 40 countries. With extensive health and safety measures in place, this first in-person gathering of its size in the Jewish community will provide teens an opportunity to come together again and connect with like-minded peers to define a future for themselves and their communities that will make the world a better place for all.
“BBYO IC 2022 will be a memorable and important opportunity for Jewish teens to address the divisiveness and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and confront the myriad impacts on the youth of society and their communities over the past two years,” commented Dr. Ivor Douglas, M.D., BBYO Medical Advisory Committee member. “Given the public health data about the lessened severity of Omicron, especially among young adults who are fully vaccinated, coupled with expectations that all participants strictly adhere to the health and safety protocols that were developed for IC, we are confident this can be a safe, memorable, and successful event.”
Over the past decade, BBYO International Convention (IC) has become a “can’t miss” event for teens across the globe. As one of the largest Jewish conferences in the world, IC immerses teens in a world-class environment that redefines their thinking about what it means to be in a Jewish space. The extraordinary scope of this year’s event is drawing thousands of teens from 40 countries, inspiring the young leaders who will define Jewish life in their communities for years to come. IC 2022’s convention theme, “The Power of Us,” represents a unique celebration of resiliency, vibrancy, and hope for the future; this reunion of young changemakers offers countless opportunities for teens to connect with their peers, hear from inspiring speakers, deepen their leadership skills, serve the local Baltimore community, celebrate Shabbat together, have access to engaging programs, and do their part to strengthen the Jewish future.
In another historic moment at IC, BBYO is announcing a first-of-its-kind collaboration with JWB Jewish Chaplains Council® (JWB)—a signature program of JCC Association of North America that serves the religious needs of Jewish military personnel, their families, and patients in VA hospitals. JWB and BBYO have joined to provide all active U.S. military and diplomatic corps families around the world free membership to BBYO for their teens, as well as discounts and special offers to attend events, participate in conventions, and partake in BBYO summer leadership and travel programs.
Among the many speakers slated to address the crowd at IC 2022 are: Mike Posner, Grammy-nominated Singer, Songwriter, and Record Producer; Josh Kraft, President of Kraft Family Philanthropies; Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, Senior Rabbi, Central Synagogue of New York; Simu Lu, Actor and Writer, Marvel Cinematic Universe; Corey Stern, Attorney against the City of Flint, State of Michigan; Eve Barlow, Freelance Music Journalist; A.J. Dillon, Running Back, Green Bay Packers; Jurnee Smollett, Emmy-nominated Actress and Activist; and Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
This year’s event will once again showcase the diversity of the BBYO community, with nearly 400 global delegates attending. New communities sending delegations to IC for the first time include South Africa, Sydney, Australia, Morocco, and Romania. And, as part of the record-breaking demand among global teens to attend IC, groups of over 50 delegates each from Germany, Spain, and Argentina are joining this year, as well as hundreds of teens from 35+ additional countries across Europe, Asia, and South America. As is customary at IC, delegates have chosen to rally around a local organization to collect donations for those in need. This year they are donating school supplies, fidget toys, and health products to the St. Francis Neighborhood Center (SFNC), Baltimore’s oldest youth enrichment center whose mission is to end generational poverty.
Some unique IC program highlights this year include:
- Access to one-of-a-kind experiences with NASA, TED, the National Aquarium, and the Autobahn Speedway (nearly 40 Leadership Labs and direct service projects in all)
- Exclusive musical performances by Steve Aoki, Tai Verdes, Surfaces, and Social House
- A reimagined IC Summit experience produced in conjunction with a coalition of partner agencies including ADL, National Council of Jewish Women, OpenDor Media, Pardes, Repair the World, Startup Experience, and World Jewish Congress, among others
- A new Saturday night social experience, BBYO Block Party, including the world championship of BBYO’s global eSports tournament in partnership with Lost Tribe
- A partnership with JCC Maccabi® to deliver the new AZAA and BBGG Sports and Wellness Expo featuring health and nutrition workshops, competitive sports, and interactions with experts in the field, as part of a broader rollout of sports and wellness programming across the BBYO global Movement in 2022. For both organizations, who together comprise the two largest pluralistic youth-engaging platforms on the continent, this joining of forces at IC marks an exciting springboard to more expansive collaboration opportunities including elevating one another's involvement in their signature annual gatherings, BBYO International Convention and the summer JCC Maccabi Games®, and future initiatives that engage Jewish teens through sports, fitness, and travel.
- An expanded Jewish Learning Lab, a wider series of teen-led sessions, and all-new networking events throughout convention
“This event is truly about celebrating the power of being together. There is simply no other segment in society that can match the enthusiasm, optimism, and courage of this generation to build a better world for all of us,” said Matthew Grossman, Chief Executive Officer of BBYO. “IC is a place where people, ideas, opinions, and creativity come together, where diversity is celebrated, and the future defined.”
IC will also serve as a gathering place for many of the Jewish community’s leading philanthropists, professionals, and influencers to collaborate on key issues facing young people and youth-serving organizations. A stakeholder reception prior to IC Opening Ceremonies will thank hundreds of Baltimore and Washington, DC, Jewish community members for their role in supporting the event. In addition, IC 2022 will feature a new 24-hour Symposium on Israel Education, bringing together teens, practitioners, thought leaders, and philanthropists to explore shared experiences and new opportunities for changing the role that youth-serving organizations play in supporting teens as they cultivate a connection to Israel.
For those unable to attend IC, BBYO will be livestreaming select sessions on Facebook Live and YouTube Live via BBYO’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Schedules for streaming throughout the weekend are posted on BBYO’s International Convention event page.
WHAT: BBYO International Convention (IC) 2022 (Full overview of events available upon request)
WHO: Approximately 3,500+ stakeholders expected (including Global Ambassadors Week) including:
- Teen Participants: 2,500+ teens expected with representation from:
- 667 unique cities
- 446 North American and global chapters
- 43 North American states, districts, and provinces
- 40 countries, including United States and Canada
- Adult Participants: 1,000+ adults expected, including:
- More than 200 featured speakers, guests, and popular music performers
- Alumni, philanthropists, clergy, friends, and business and thought leaders
- Dozens of program educators and Jewish enrichment consultants
- Nearly 150 program partners and sponsors
- Professional BBYO staff
- Hundreds of local volunteers and parents
- Partners: 150 brand, program, and community partners, including:
- American Eagle, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Autobahn Speedway, Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, Broadway Plus, Brooklyn Nets, Charm City Cakes, Creative Artists Agency, the International Spy Museum, Israel Tennis and Education Centers, Jerusalem Youth Chorus, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, M&T Bank Stadium, March for Our Lives, the National Aquarium, National Football League, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Swoveralls, Under Armour, and many more.
WHEN: February 17–21, 2022; Pre-IC Summits begin February 16
WHERE: Multiple locations in Baltimore, Maryland
Please Note: Schedule and speakers are subject to change.
BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. For nearly 100 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.