Kazuko’s AFS journey began in 1962 when she embarked on an AFS exchange to Wisconsin, USA, an experience that profoundly shaped her life. She started volunteering with AFS in the mid-1960s while attending university and continued her involvement in 86 after focusing on work and family.

As a local volunteer, Kazuko played a vital role in expanding her chapter’s reach and ensuring its growth. She initiated the development of a support contact system and was responsible for recruiting and training volunteers to support hosted students. Additionally, Kazuko directly supported numerous hosted students and offered her home as a host family.

Kazuko’s dedication extended beyond her local responsibilities. She served as a volunteer leader for AFS Japan, participating as a member of the Board of Councilors in 1992-1993 and a member of the regional representative committee in 1998 and 1999. She established a new chapter and led it for seven years, initiating various activities like publishing a PR magazine and fundraising for two decades.

Throughout her grassroots volunteering journey, Kazuko consistently identified areas in which AFS could improve support for students and local chapters. She created a support contact system for local liaisons, provided training, and recruited liaison contact persons. Kazuko’s encouragement has led many volunteers to take on contact person roles, ensuring the quality hosting experience of numerous students in the community. Her checklist for hosted students became a national resource in the AFS Japan Welcome Booklet.

Kazuko’s contributions extended to peace education, as she organized trips to Hiroshima every summer to promote peace awareness among hosted students. She independently developed relationships with eight new host schools in her community, fostering opportunities for intercultural understanding.

By expanding local AFS activities and host schools, Kazuko exposed more people to AFS, attracted new volunteers, and contributed to the establishment of multiple chapters. Her efforts have significantly increased opportunities for intercultural understanding throughout the region.

“Her motto in AFS activities is: ‘Volunteering should be fun!’ which she always says to her volunteer friends. She is an influencer to give positive feelings to so many volunteers in the region.”

—Miki Orino, Volunteer Manager, AFS Japan

AFS Galatti Award

Established in 1983, the AFS Galatti Award honors AFS volunteers whose longtime commitment, dedication and exceptional journey with the organization have advanced the AFS mission and created an impact. It is awarded in honor of Stephen Galatti, who was Director General of AFS for more than 28 years (1936-1964) and who built and transformed AFS into a world-wide organization that promotes peace and global awareness through intercultural learning experiences.

In 2023, winners of the AFS Galatti Award winners were Debra Maly, AFS-USA and Kazuko Nakano, AFS Japan.