AFS is concerned for every human being affected by the violent conflict between Israel and Hamas, but particularly for the millions of children and young people living in Israel and Gaza who deserve to live in a just and peaceful world. We support Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres when he says, “we must be clear on the principle of upholding human dignity. Polarization and dehumanization are being fueled by a tsunami of disinformation. We must stand up to the forces of anti-semitism, anti-muslim bigotry and all forms of hate.” 

AFS is an organization born out of war, and our mission is peace. AFS always stands on the side of peace.

While we have no office, programs or personnel in Israel and Gaza, this violence has fueled a wave of anti-semitism, islamophobia, expressions of hatred, and polarization that is affecting the whole world.

In moments like these we ask ourselves how we, as a non-partisan international education organization, can contribute.

We call on AFSers all over the world – a community over 500,000 strong – and anyone who considers themselves an agent of peace, to follow in the tradition of our Founders, the volunteer Ambulance Drivers who, instead of choosing sides and picking up arms, navigated conflict and helped the wounded regardless of what army they belonged to over the course of two world wars.

Promote empathy and compassion in your community, and address polarization where you see it. Explore resources from AFS and other organizations that will equip you with the tools and knowledge needed to promote respectful dialogue:

The safety of our participants, host families, volunteers and staff is our number one priority. As such, our support staff and local volunteers have been focused on reaching out to participants that have a connection to the region, and supporting participants experiencing discrimination, psychological distress or otherwise in need of support. Thank you to our staff, volunteers and host families for the care you have shown our young participants during this difficult time.

AFS will always remain dedicated to helping individuals develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world –  a mission that is more important now than ever before.