Letter from our CEO & Chair

A New Global Strategy to Maximize Our Global Impact

In 2017, world events compelled AFS to adopt an urgent new agenda that addressed this major challenge:

How can AFS best promote our learning-to-live-together agenda when nations are closing borders, communities are more divided and access to basic education opportunities remains problematic?

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AFS in 2017


Active Global Citizens + Impact Goals = #AFSeffect

The new AFS strategy focuses on building a larger, more prepared and engaged community of responsible citizens to achieve our peace and justice mission. We are working even harder to ensure that these global citizens are prepared to lead, think critically and be comfortable communicating, collaborating and solving problems across cultural and other differences.

AFS volunteers, alumni and staff worldwide combine their passion and professional skills to bring people together and use intercultural understanding to address society’s greatest challenges. See some of the highlighted initiatives below!


Impact Goal #1:
Develop active global citizens

AFS volunteers, alumni and staff leverage their intercultural skills and strategic partnerships to help the world learn to live together.

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Impact goal #2:
Globalize schools and institutions

We support and equip more than 5,000 educators, schools, institutions and NGOs to deliver effective intercultural programs that build global competence.

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Impact goal #3:
Expand access to intercultural education

Scholarships, outreach and advocacy ensure that more people from diverse and underserved communities participate in and benefit from AFS programs and initiatives.

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Redefining Study Abroad Programs for Active Global Citizens

More than 12,000 young people begin their transformative journey toward global competence in AFS Programs every year, gaining an appreciation for the world beyond their own.

Diversifying our programs to meet the interests and needs of these Generation Z teens and Millennial young adults has resulted in a dynamic portfolio of more relevant content, new program formats and strategic partnerships.

Over the next few years, more programs will include preparation and direct experiences in changemaking and social impact projects—important exposure for developing active global citizens.

AFS Programs for active global citizens around the world

  1. Young Adults Program

  2. Virtual Exchange

  3. Global Prep

More AFS Programs

AFS Honors Our Exceptional Volunteers

The AFS Galatti Award recognizes AFS volunteers whose long-time commitment, dedication and exceptional journey with the organization have advanced the AFS mission. The Peggy and Art Howe Award goes to the outstanding service of AFS volunteer families.

2017 AFS Galatti Award Honorees

Floria Arias, Costa Rica
Roselyne Batteux, France
Suwanee Chatwattanasukon, Thailand

2017 Peggy and Art Howe Award Honorees

Shuggi M. and Andrea Arnemann, Germany
Jessica and Jason Andres, USA    


AFS study reveals Gen Z's attitudes on study abroad

What’s driving Generation Z students in 35 countries to consider leaving home to study abroad? Cultural exploration and English-speaking destinations, according to a first-of-its-kind AFS study, Mapping Generation Z: Attitudes Toward International Education Programs. This 2017 global study, which polled more than 10,000 students, ages 13-18 worldwide, has sparked an industry-wide focus on how the current generation of high school students feels about immersing themselves in drastically different cultures than their own. Key findings of the report were presented at six international conferences, showcasing how educational organizations can adjust their approach to cater to changing student motivations in our increasingly turbulent times.

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Helping AFS Achieve Our Mission

Thank you to all our generous donors and sponsors for their commitment to advance intercultural understanding. Your scholarship donations and sponsorships funded many of the events and projects featured in this year’s Annual Report.

Thank You to Our Donors

We are especially grateful to long-time supporters like the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC). Since 1988, HSBC has sponsored nearly 300 children of its employees in Hong Kong to participate in AFS study abroad programs. This program has enhanced employee morale, helped retain talented employees, improved company culture, and provided employee families with incentives to remain actively and fully engaged with HSBC. This scholarship program was replicated in other countries.

“For 30 years, AFS has provided a variety of unique opportunities for hundreds of children of HSBC employees to live and study overseas. We watched them grow into confident, resilient, mature and culturally aware young adults—some of the very qualities that HSBC values in our people,” says Steven Travis, HSBC Chief Administration Officer.

Support AFS

When you donate to AFS you become part of a global community of supporters of AFS in our work to connect lives and share cultures. Your donation will help to transform the lives of millions of AFS participants, families, schools and individuals that share a commitment to help build international understanding by helping people from different parts of the world live an intercultural learning experience.



Celebrating anniversaries

AFS FRANCE 70 years | 26,648 students
AFS NETHERLANDS 70 years | 9,403 students
AFS NEW ZEALAND 70 years | 25,517 students
AFS NORWAY 70 years | 18,650 students
AFS DENMARK 60 years | 17,973 students
AFS PHILIPPINES 60 years | 3,339 students
AFS GHANA 50 years | 2,737 students
AFS RUSSIA 25 years | 3,848 students

2017 Annual Report

Get your own copy of the 2017 AFS Annual Report. Click the link below for a PDF version.

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AFS Network Finances

AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization incorporated under the laws of New York State, USA, and is a tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) of the United States of America.

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AFS Leadership

AFS International provides worldwide leadership, coordination, support, quality control and development of 59 AFS Network Organizations in 60 countries.

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About AFS

A world-class intercultural education organization; a global movement to develop and activate global citizens.

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