Thank you, AFS Volunteers!

“AFS volunteers are critical to educating and empowering people of all ages to take their first steps as global citizens through our study abroad, host family and volunteer programs—supported by structured intercultural learning programs. Your efforts have built a global network of more than 1 million AFSers in all walks of life committed to our mission.”

Daniel Obst, President & CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs

Read Daniel’s message to AFS Volunteers

Add the Volunteer Badge to your profile picture

On this International Volunteer Day you not only deserve a #GlobalApplause, you deserve a standing ovation! Add the Volunteer Badge to your profile picture and share what you’re doing to change the world around you!

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A chat with the President

Daniel Obst, President & CEO of AFS, and Maria Maione, Organization Development Intern sit down for a talk on volunteering and global citizenship.

"I grew up with sibilings from around the world"

"How can we collaborate across borders?"

AFS Volunteer, Micol Terenziani, asks Daniel about fostering collaboration amongst volunteers across borders in order to further the AFS mission.

"As an AFS Volunteer, what should I do after college?"

AFS Volunteer, MIkayla Holzwarth, asks Daniel for advice on how to make the most of her volunteering experience after college.

"How has volunteering changed your career?"

In this video, Maria talks about how volunteering has shaped her career path and brought her to intern in New York City. Daniel also asks volunteers from around the AFS network for their input and ideas to continue on improving the experience.

AFS Outstanding Volunteers Awards 2016

AFS Intercultural Programs is pleased to announce the 2016 winners for outstanding volunteer service in four award categories.

AFS is the leading volunteer-driven global intercultural education organization dedicated to preparing future leaders, global citizens and changemakers.

AFS offers study abroad programs, intercultural learning journeys and community social impact projects in 99 destinations, managed by a network of 60 AFS national organizations. Supported by 50,000 volunteers worldwide, AFS empowers people of all ages to live, lead and collaborate in diverse settings—in their local communities and around the world.

Driven by the mission to foster greater intercultural understanding, AFS volunteers have built a global AFS community of more than 1 million people committed to creating a more just and peaceful world.

AFS President and CEO, Daniel Obst and the entire AFS global community congratulates all of the 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Award winners and extends a warm thank you to all of our amazing AFS volunteers.

The 2016 #AFSChangeMaker Award

The 2016 #AFSChangeMaker Award for social impact recognizes an innovative program that uses intercultural learning to help improve local communities and bring together diverse people who live in them.


The 2016 #AFSChangeMaker Award

Tanweer Initiative, AFS Egypt

AFS is proud to present the 2016 #AFSChangeMaker Award to AFS Egypt volunteers for their Tanweer pilot program. Tanweer, which means “enlightenment” in Arabic, helped 300 children in low income communities develop critical 21st century leadership, intercultural communication and sustainability skills to help them thrive in their diverse communities—all important core-competencies that young people require. Organized in collaboration with NGOs in several small villages and towns, this program will be offered in more Egyptian communities over the next few months.

The 2016 Peggy and Art Howe Award

Introduced this year for the first time, the 2016 Peggy an Art Howe Award honors the outstanding service of AFS volunteer families. This award is inspired by the Howe family, who volunteered for AFS for more than six decades. Art Howe was a volunteer AFS Ambulance Driver in World War II, President of AFS, (1965-1971), and Life Trustee until his passing in 2014.

Di Chiara Stanca Family

The 2016 peggy and art howe award

The Di Chiara Stanca Family, Intercultura AFS Italy

The Di Chiara Stanca family has developed a strong network of volunteers in Puglia, an area of Italy where AFS was not represented. Parents Anna Rita and Renato, along with daughter Emanuela, have helped organize the sending and hosting of hundreds of students, raised local funds for scholarships, and created a regional network of schools with the aim of providing intercultural training for students and teachers.

Inoue Family

The 2016 Peggy and art howe award

The Inoue Family, AFS Japan

The Inoues have been an outstanding example of open mindedness, inclusion, and dedication for over 22 years, covering many roles as AFS volunteers and working as activists for LGBT Ally Declaration. Yoshihiko and Nahoko have encouraged members of their community in Hokkaido to learn about LGBT issues and to work together to create an inclusive environment. Their efforts are greatly appreciated in a country where discussions of religious and other differences may be considered sensitive topics. The Inoues have also served AFS as a host family, opening the doors of their homes to 22 international students.

Ngubeni Family

the 2016 peggy and art howe award

The Ngubeni Family, AFS South Africa

From grandparents to grandchildren, the Ngubeni family has proven to be an outstanding asset to AFS and its success, thanks to their dedicated work as regional coordinators, chapter volunteers and finding local host families. Willing to promote the benefits of diversity in communities where differences are not widely accepted, Thoko, Vusimuzi and their entire family are dedicated to the AFS mission of fostering greater intercultural understanding. Volunteering is not the only way the Ngubenis serve AFS. Over the last 20 years, they have also been a caring AFS host family.

The Proulx Family

the 2016 peggy and art Howe Award

The Proulx Family, AFS USA

Recognizing the need to promote AFS programs to diverse communities, the Proulx family members have been the ultimate AFS ambassadors since 1997. Following the lead of parents Abby and Michael, the family has reached out to different religious and cultural organizations, as well as actively encouraged LGBTQ families to join AFS. Proulx family members have fulfilled a variety of AFS leadership roles, including helping to manage the local NorthWest California AFS chapters, coordinating outdoor activities and participating in the AFS USA National Council. In addition to volunteering, the Proulx family has hosted AFS students from many countries. Over the years, siblings Andrea, Anthea, Kinara and Bonnie and granddaughter Fiona have enjoyed helping AFS students make the most of their international experience.  

The 2016 Young AFS Volunteer Award

The 2016 Young AFS Volunteer Award celebrates volunteers under 30 years old who provide fresh perspectives and make exceptional contributions to improve AFS and advance our mission.

Arendse Ursula Teilmann Aalund

the 2016 young afs volunteer award

Arendse Ursula Teilmann Aalund, AFS Denmark

Although only 18 years old, Arendse is one of AFS Denmark’s key volunteers. Arendse has worked on initiatives that have improved communications and operations within her organization, which has resulted in more flexible volunteer assignments and increased trust and collaboration between generations of volunteers. Arendse represents her chapter on a national AFS Denmark committee and has been named one of the five Danish participants in the AFS Leadership Development Programs for the Nordic Countries.

Najmuzzaman Mohammad

the 2016 young afs volunteer award

Najmuzzaman Mohammad, AFS India

Najmuzzaman is an outstanding young volunteer with a track record for developing new ways to grow AFS India. Without him, initiatives like the AFS India mobile app would not have been possible. A natural innovator, this 25-year-old AFS volunteer continues to motivate his colleagues to think outside the box.

Siti Nurul Faizatus Sholikha

the 2016 young afs volunteer award

Siti Nurul Faizatus Sholikha, AFS Indonesia

Over the past five years, Siti has proven to be a first-rate organizer, with a real talent for coordinating AFS volunteer activities at the chapter level and leading international conferences. In 2015, Siti led the successful Better Understanding for a Better World conference in Indonesia, where she inspired AFS and other volunteers to support the peace and multicultural understanding event.  As the Yogyakarta Chapter Vice President, Siti organized an international conference (funded in part by the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program), and leveraged the program to identify new AFS volunteers. Hardworking and energetic, this 22-year-old AFS volunteer seeks out new and creative ways to motivate others to dedicate themselves fully to the AFS mission.

The 2016 Galatti Award

Established in 1983, the 2016 Galatti Award is presented to volunteers who have demonstrated exceptional and long-term commitment and dedication to AFS and our mission.

Linnie Shields

The 2016 Galatti award

Linne Shields, AFS USA

Linne Shields is an AFS pillar in the Dallas-Fort Worth (Texas) market. Linne is well known for her skills in mentoring, coaching and inspiring numerous AFS volunteers as they took on key support responsibilities and moved into important leadership positions. Her insight, wisdom and knowledge, proven in each of the many volunteer roles, have positioned her as a strategic and valued AFS leader. As Co-Chair of the AFS USA National Support Advisory Committee, she directly influenced the AFS participant support policy. Linne and her husband host an annual trip for local AFS participants to Washington, D.C., where they visit the nation’s most important monuments and learn about American culture. Linne has been a host mom to 10 students and opened her home to 64 students for temporary stays.

Trees Laga- Vanhecke

The 2016 Galatti Award

Trees Laga-Vanhecke, AFS Belgium Flanders

Starting her AFS experience as a member of a host family and later sending her son on an AFS program, Trees has become one of AFS Belgium Flanders most active and valuable volunteers since 1990. Serving in many different roles, Trees founded the AFS Southwest Flanders Chapter (KIP), where she was Chapter President for 15 years. Tapping her expansive personal network and database, Trees has been a successful skilled recruiter for host families, emergency families and volunteers. Her ability to bring together volunteers of different generations is well-appreciated, and has encouraged a spirit of cooperation and collaboration. Despite her busy volunteer schedule and serving on national task forces, Trees hosted AFS students in her home for six years.


The 2016 Galatti Award

Wu Bing, AFS China

Under Wu Bing’s leadership, the AFS Guangdong Chapter became one of the most successful AFS chapters in China. As a true champion for AFS in her region, she helped distinguish AFS from other study abroad programs, which led to the successful recruitment of many students, volunteers and host families. Over the years, AFS China has benefitted from Wu Bing’s creativity and problem solving abilities—from developing engaging orientation sessions and identifying interesting cultural activities to finding just the right solution to address medical emergencies and other challenges.

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