AFS, a leading international education and exchange organization, is proud to announce the launch of its refreshed Network Strategy for 2024-2028. This comprehensive strategy reflects AFS’s reinforced commitment to fostering active global citizenship and driving positive change worldwide.

The founders of AFS were volunteer ambulance drivers who served in both World Wars. They understood the need for people to overcome the conflicts between cultures in order to build a just and peaceful world. Today, we see more need than ever to help people develop the capacities and values needed to achieve a world that is not only more peaceful and just, but also more equitable and sustainable.

This is why the focus of our new strategy is on developing active global citizens of all ages through our exchange programs, education initiatives, volunteerism and advocacy efforts.

To achieve our mission worldwide, we must build a larger, more prepared, and more engaged community of interculturally competent active global citizens.

A focus on scholarships, education, volunteers, and impact

The new strategy, developed in collaboration with 55 AFS Partners and numerous stakeholders through extensive consultations, outlines four key priorities that will shape the organization’s direction in the coming years.

  • Expand our scholarships & fundraising to ensure that more than half of our 12,000+ AFS participants are scholarship recipients;
  • Enhance our profile as an educational organization by fostering more profound and formalized relationships with schools and educators;
  • Create the best volunteer experience by cultivating a volunteer force of 35,000+ that is not only larger but also more actively involved and better equipped;
  • Deliver excellence and impact in our diverse range of programs so that more people (youth, adults and families) experience the #AFSeffect.

Additionally, the organization will implement enablers such as technology integration and data-driven decision-making to maximize operational effectiveness.

A first-ever framework for Active Global Citizenship

Central to the new strategy is the focus on developing active global citizens. AFS worked with renowned expert in the field of global citizenship education Veronica Boix-Mansilla (Principal Investigator at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education) and a committee of educational experts to create a unique definition and framework for active global citizenship that can be used by any organization.

The framework defines active global citizens as individuals equipped with the knowledge, empathy, and skills to address global challenges and promote inclusivity and sustainability. AFS’s educational framework emphasizes critical inquiry, intercultural understanding, and collective action, aligning with global education goals outlined by UNESCO, OECD, and other leading organizations.

What’s next? 

As AFS embarks on this transformative journey, stakeholders, partners, and the global community are invited to join in shaping a future of active global citizenship and positive global impact.

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For media inquiries and further information, please contact Nicole Lebenson Angulo, Deputy Chief Organizational Development Officer at AFS Intercultural Programs.

About AFS:

AFS began in 1915 as the American Ambulance Field Service, a volunteer humanitarian service in the First and Second World Wars. In between the wars, AFS offered a university scholarship exchange program for students in the United States and France. In 1946, the AFS volunteer ambulance drivers founded a secondary school student exchange program intended to perpetuate international friendships and volunteerism in peacetime.

Since then, AFS has sent more than 500,000 young people on exchanges all around the world. Each year more than 12,000 young people go abroad on AFS programs, supported by 35,000 AFS volunteers, thousands of host families, and a dedicated core of 1,000 staff members at our global network of  national AFS organizations and offices in 55 countries around the world.

Learn more by visiting, reading our most recent annual report.