The Robert Raiche Fellowship
Intern at our Global Headquarters in New Hampshire and help inspire the next generation of Friends Forever International volunteers and participants.
The Robert Raiche Fellowship was established in 2014 to provide a professional internship and leadership development opportunity to a Friends Forever International alumnus who, in the years since their U.S. Skill Building Phase trip, has embodied the spirit of FFI’s founder, Robert (Bob) Raiche by demonstrating a strong commitment to co-existence through continued work with FFI and/or other co-existence projects, initiative and motivation to take action for positive change, and a desire to create meaningful connections between people.
The Robert Raiche Fellow will travel to New Hampshire (all expenses paid: airfare, accommodation, meals) in the Summer of their Fellowship year to work with Friends Forever International Staff on improving and inspiring FFI's programs.
Robert (Bob) Raiche founded Friends Forever in 1986 when he brought a group of 5 Protestant and 5 Catholic boys from Northern Ireland to the United States, providing these ten youths the opportunity to build friendships with each other away from the pressures and division they faced back home.
Bob’s life had always been dedicated to the empowerment of young people, he worked for years with the YMCA, leading youth in the US and around the world. Bob was known for his ability to make those around him feel at ease. He mediated conflicts both large and small and taught young people to take responsibility for their actions and their relationships with each other.
In founding Friends Forever, Bob demonstrated another of his trademark qualities: initiative. Bob was not afraid to put an idea into action and to do what was needed to make it work, especially when that idea had the potential to empower young people to make a change.
For his lifetime of service and for his work with Friends Forever, Bob received numerous awards and recognitions including the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Diversity Award, The Paul Harris Fellowship and, most recently, a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. A longtime Rotarian, Bob also received two of Rotary International’s highest honors; the Service Above Self Award and the Donald MacRae Peace Award.
Twenty-seven years later, the impact of Bob’s life can be felt around the world. After Bob’s passing in 2014 at the age of 85, the Robert Raiche Fellowship was established to encourage those alumni who would carry on Bob’s legacy of compassion, initiative, and commitment to improving the lives of young people the world over.
Jessica is a graduate of the 2014 Northern Ireland Program and spent 2 weeks with the New England host community. Once she returned home, Jessica continued to be engaged in volunteer work and giving back to her community through Scotch Street Youth Club. After her time in the US, Jessica became more passionate about Cross Community work and was voted as the Youth Member of Parliament for Co. Armagh and Newry where she campaigned to break down race and religious barriers in her community. Jessica was an active volunteer in her school as a Peer tutor and Befriender and was then selected as Deputy Head girl. Since leaving school, she has started an Adult Nursing Honours Degree which she is studying in Scotland.
Friends Forever International chose to award Jessica with the 2018 Robert Raiche Fellowship for her commitment to giving back to her community and for demonstrating a resolve to remain a leader in the FFI movement. As part of her Fellowship, Jessica interned at the FFI Headquarters in 2018. She has since become a Friends Forever Europe Board Member and acted as Program Coordinator for the 2019 New Hampshire Team.
Jessica Maye, 2018
Josh is a graduate of our Northern Ireland Program. In the summer of 2008, Josh spent two weeks at our host community in New England, where he learned to look beyond exterior appearances and get to know people across cultural boundaries. After returning to Northern Ireland, Josh continued to expand his worldview through volunteering and college.
Friends Forever International chose to award Josh with the 2017 Robert Raiche Award for his commitment to making the world a more welcoming place and for demonstrating continual willingness to learn and teach others. As part of his Fellowship, Josh interned at the FFI Headquarters in Durham, NH. During this time, Josh met with local community members and assisted with program development.
Josh Hall, 2017
Courtney Robinson, 2016
Courtney Robinson, a graduate from our Northern Ireland program, participated in the 2012 Skill Building Phase hosted by our Gulf Coast U.S. Host Community. After participating in FFI, Courtney was inspired to return home and fight for a better future for all members of her community. Within a few months of returning from the United States, Courtney organized a protest of young people and trade unions - across peace lines - to call for an end to sectarianism and education funding cuts. A few weeks later, she organized against the Department of Employment and Education to prohibit cuts to Northern Ireland’s Education Maintenance Allowance; a small weekly stipend that helps working class young people stay in school.
FFI chose to award Courtney with the 2016 Robert Raiche Fellowship for her outstanding leadership in community activism, her strong demonstration of global consciousness, and her commitment to bettering the lives of others. As part of the fellowship, she received a scholarship to raise awareness and volunteer at the FFI Headquarters, in Durham, NH, from February 26th to March 14th, 2016. During that time, she met with local partners and worked on her own plan to strengthen the presence of FFI in Northern Ireland’s communities.
Paul Cain, 2015
Paul Cain, a graduate from our Northern Ireland program, participated in the 2008 Life Raft hosted by our New England U.S. Host Community. After participating in FFI, he was inspired to volunteer in his own community. Within a year of returning from the United States, he received the Millennium Volunteers Certificate for completing 200 hours of community service. Paul continued to volunteer throughout high school and went on to study a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with Business at Queen’s University, Belfast. After graduation in 2014, he spent time teaching English as a Foreign Language in both the Czech Republic and Italy. Paul is currently studying a Master’s degree in Sport Management at Ulster University. In December 2017, Paul was selected to be a board member of Friends Forever Europe, and in March 2018, he was part of the first ever alumni program in New Orleans.
FFI chose to award Paul with the 2015 Robert Raiche Fellowship for his outstanding leadership in community service, his strong demonstration of global consciousness, and his commitment to bettering the lives of others. As part of the fellowship, he received a scholarship to raise awareness and volunteer at the FFI Headquarters, in Durham, NH, from March 2nd to March 20th, 2015. During that time, he met with local partners and working on his own plan to strengthen the presence of Friends Forever in Northern Ireland’s communities.
Ben Ben Ami, a graduate from our Israel program, remained active in FFI since participating in the Skill Building Phase in the summer of 2011. Upon returning home to Israel, Ben devoted his time to sharing the lessons of peace and co-existence that he learned from FFI to as many people as would listen. Since then, Ben has taken part in many Palestinian-Israeli dialog programs and led multiple workshops for hundreds of FFI alumni and youth across the Middle-East.
FFI chose to award Ben with the 2014 Robert Raiche Fellowship for his outstanding efforts and commitment to promote Jewish and Arab co-existences among Israeli youth. As part of the fellowship, he received a scholarship to raise awareness and volunteer at the FFI Headquarters, in Durham, NH, from February 1st to March 6th, 2014, a month before his mandated service in the Israeli Defense Services. During that time, Ben traveled throughout New England continuing to spread FFI mission and his own personal message that "peace is possible".