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.

We congratulate 2020 AFS Volunteer Award winners:

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.

Claudia 3

AFS Italy

Claudia Chiaperotti

In her almost 60 years as a volunteer, Claudia has covered all possible tasks in Intercultura (AFS Italy), from local selection and counseling, to being a member of the National Board and many national committees. 

She has been an example for many volunteers in her chapter and in Italy, as a  national trainer and chairperson. She was chair of the prep committee for the AFS World Congress in 2005 and she is always available when an unexpected event pops up in AFS. She is an interpreter and Chair of the national Interpreter Association and she often volunteers as a simultaneous interpreter when one is needed at an AFS event. 

Claudia also volunteers with “Missionland” an organization that provides funds and medical support to deprived communities in Africa and she drove trucks several times, loaded with medicines all the way from Italy to Central Africa.

Peggy and Art Howe Award

Established in 2016, Peggy and 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.


AFS Belgium Flanders

Lut Severijns, Bart Hendrickx, Tobias Hendrickx, Sam Hendrickx, Aiden Hendrickx

Bart participated in an exchange to the US, and he and Lut have been volunteers for over 30 years, where they have hosted multiple times and helped dozens of participants in their chapter. So it was no surprise when Tobias and Aiden participated in an AFS program and immediately after became volunteers as well. Whether they are promoting AFS, facilitating an orientation, or participating in local and national volunteer activities, they are always eager to share what they’ve learned and get to know other people’s culture. 

Their AFS functions are part of their family routine, and they constantly work together and help each other to move AFS forward. They always make sure that everyone feels welcome and included. You can talk to anyone in AFS Flanders and they will tell you how wonderful and important the members of the Hendrickx-Severijns family are to the AFS community.

Young AFS Volunteer Award

Volunteerism has an important role to play in harnessing the potential of young people, and in AFS, young volunteers make fundamental contributions to promote intercultural understanding. Established in 2015, the Young AFS Volunteer Award for Outstanding Service recognizes AFS volunteers under the age of 30 whose exceptional contributions to the organization have made a difference in advancing the mission and goals of AFS.

Harold Guerrero

AFS Colombia

Harold Stivens Guerrero García

Harold Stivens joined AFS in April 2018 as a volunteer of the Barranquilla local chapter. As the head of “Institutional Alliances”, he has made sure that people from his city and beyond have access to intercultural education. Planning leadership development programs for young people in Barranquilla, creating activities to promote the local culture, and motivating volunteers to continue working despite the current circumstances, are just some of the initiatives that Harold Stivens has led. 

In a year where it wasn’t possible to host students, he constantly led new initiatives and worked together with the AFS Colombia Staff in the creation of innovative projects that allow the development of intercultural learning in ways other than exchanges. Harold Stivens has been a leader and an inspiration to many and encompasses the AFS spirit.

Witko 2

AFS Sweden

Witko Tamm

After being an exchange student in Ecuador in 2016, Witko immediately took on heavy roles in his local chapter. At first, working with hosted participants, and since 2018 as co-chapter president. On a national level, he is an active trainer and camp leader, as well as the treasurer of Sweden’s National Board. 

AFS Sweden has gone through many rough patches in the past few years. Throughout the hard moments, and now with the restructuring process with AFS Denmark, Witko has always worked tirelessly to advance the AFS mission. He has helped maintain his local chapter – AFS Västra Götaland – as well as AFS Sweden. He is a true champion of what AFS stands for and always helps other volunteers, as well as the community, to become active global citizens. In the hardest moment this organization has gone through, he has helped AFS Sweden flourish with his non-stop commitment.

Globally connected through volunteerism

AFS thanks all our volunteers who, with their efforts, commitment and dedication, make a positive contribution to society. Thank you for continuing to champion the AFS mission of intercultural understanding even in challenging times like these. Thank you for investing so much of your time and enthusiasm in continuously supporting AFS students, host families, sending families, schools, and local communities. You are an inspiration to us all!

This International Volunteer Day, we explored AFS’s history of volunteering, and met and had fun with AFS volunteers from around the world. The agenda included panel discussions, volunteer activities that every AFSer knows and loves, and the announcement of this year’s AFS Volunteer Award winners. We celebrated the amazing people that make our organization move forward everyday!

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