Dear AFS volunteers, staff and friends from India,

As you all know, AFS is preparing to celebrate its Centennial.

This event provides an opportunity to embrace and acknowledge AFS’ contributions to increasing intercultural awareness, tolerance and more effective intercultural communications around the world. This year, we will enthusiastically take our lead in the “global citizen” conversation by emphasizing our belief that a strong foundation for “learning to live together” requires real-life intercultural experiences, structured learning and reflection.

Our view is that a successful AFS Centennial Celebration must be more than an extended birthday party. Above all, the AFS Centennial Celebration is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for AFS to increase VISIBILITY, strengthen AFFILIATION and expand FUNDRAISING.

Volunteers and volunteerism are who we are. Volunteers are the backbone of AFS. We are committed to strengthening how we support and train our volunteers so that they may, in turn, provide the highest level of support to AFS participants and their natural and host families.

We recognize that the intercultural learning that takes place during an AFS experience, whether it be the experience of an AFS volunteer, staff, host family or a young AFS participant, is what makes AFS programs so unique and valuable.

Last, but certainly not least, I am very happy to acknowledge the successes of AFS India. AFS was active in India in the 1960s and 1970s, after which it ceased operations there. AFS India restarted operations in 2005 by sending a group of 45 students to the US, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Japan. During the past four years, AFS India has quadrupled its capacity, sending more than 200 students on exchange programs. I would therefore also like to congratulate AFS in India for becoming self-supporting and for being prepared to accept new AFS volunteers and new challenges. We are all very proud of your achievements.

Vincenzo Morlini
President and CEO AFS Intercultural Programs

August 2014