by Daniel Obst, President & CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs
Reflecting on the mission and vision of AFS, I’m always amazed by the courage and perseverance of our alumni and the people we reach. Earlier this year, I had the chance to meet Lucien Kinsolving, a 97-year old AFS volunteer ambulance driver who served in World War II. His contributions to making the world more peaceful are immense and inspiring. His legacy, and that of thousands of other AFS volunteer ambulance drivers, lives on today.
Our global AFS community is rich with testimonials of AFS alumni, students, volunteers, families, and others making a positive change in their communities worldwide. Last year alone, our work directly reached more 66,000 people.
This new edition of the Janus honors some of the heroes that created AFS and celebrates the changemakers who champion the AFS mission today:
- Thanks to an AFS Faces of the World scholarship, Santiago De Lara from Mexico is now beginning his exchange program in Brazil. Santiago has a disability that often keeps young people from going abroad. Thanks to the scholarship, he is able to go on a 3 week program with his care-taker and AFS alumnus, Jesus.
- 200 participants from 20 Asian countries are studying abroad in Japan on the Asia Kakehashi Project, which will strengthen the bonds and understanding between Asian cultures. AFS Japan runs this program in partnership with the Japanese government and will provide 1,000 Asian high school students by 2022 to study in Japanese high schools.
- Effect+ workshops introduced 3,300+ teens in six countries (Brazil, Dominican Republic, France, India, Mexico and Peru) to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2018. Effect+ empowers young global citizens to work together on SDGs in their communities. To scale this program, AFS partners with influential international organizations, such as CISV (intercultural summer camps for young children), and private sector firms, such as Ibiritermo, a clean energy company.
On behalf of the entire AFS Network, thank you for continually supporting AFS advance the work that our founders started more than 100 years ago.