AFS Intercultural Programs has been honored by the 2016 Franco-American Award of Blérancourt for our humanitarian efforts during World Wars I & II and our intercultural study abroad programs. In his acceptance speech, AFS President and CEO, Daniel Obst dedicated the award to the AFS volunteers who are creating a more just and peaceful world. Obst added,
“I am fascinated by the 100-year old history of AFS and its incredible transition from a volunteer ambulance corps created as a response to the devastation of a horrifying war into a groundbreaking intercultural learning and student exchange organization.”
This award is given by the American Friends of Blérancourt, a prestigious organization created to support the Franco-American Museum at the Château de Blérancourt in Picardy, France. Volunteers, alumni and staff of AFS International and AFS USA attended the awards ceremony.
Blérancourt and AFS have a long history together, beginning with shared humanitarian roots in World War I. In 1931 Anne Morgan gave the château and its collections to the French government, and in 1938 the museum dedicated a new wing featuring an original AFS ambulance and memorabilia. In 1938 and 1969 the museum unveiled busts of AFS founder A. Piatt. Andrew and Stephen Galatti (respectively), who spearheaded the creation of the AFS secondary school exchange programs after World War II. Over the years the connection continued, and in 2016 the museum contributed photographic material and information for inclusion in the AFS secondary school curriculum titled The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I, 1914-1919.
Banner photo: An original AFS World War I ambulance known as the “Hunk O’ Tin” at the Franco-American Museum at the Château de Blérancourt in Picardy, France. Courtesy of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs. The holder of copyright for this item is unknown. Please contact AFS if you can identify the copyright holder or would like the image removed.