Joining forces to support the next generation of young leaders and active global citizens
[New York, NY- March 18, 2021] – Friendship Ambassadors Foundation (FAF) and its flagship program, The Youth Assembly, will become a part of AFS Intercultural Programs, upon approval by the New York State Charities Bureau. Both organizations bring decades of experience in the world of international education and cultural exchange, and a shared focus on developing the next generation of young leaders.
According to the UN, with which both AFS and FAF hold consultative status, there are approximately 1.2 billion young people (aged 15-24 years), accounting for 16% of the world population. These numbers are expected to grow in the coming years. Data shows that empowering young people with skill-development opportunities, and a platform to connect with each other and global leaders of sustainable development is paramount for tackling challenges such as climate change, global inequality and violent conflict.
AFS’s focus on developing active global citizens through international exchange programs, education initiatives, volunteerism and advocacy, ensures that FAF’s legacy is in good hands. For more than 75 years, AFS has been a leader in the field of intercultural exchange. Today, the AFS Network includes national organizations in 57 countries, thousands of volunteers, and more than 500,000 program alumni. FAF has 60+ years of experience in facilitating cultural exchanges, youth development, and action for global change. The very first group of four “Ambassadors for Friendship” included Kofi Annan, a young student from Ghana who went on to become the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Boards of both organizations have agreed to continue FAF’s signature program, The Youth Assembly. Since its launch in 2004, the Youth Assembly has been a global gathering of young leaders, social entrepreneurs, activists, and champions of sustainable development. It provides a platform for meaningful dialogue and partnership between youth, civil society, the private sector, and the United Nations. At the Assembly, young people have access to tools, knowledge, and skills to create action oriented solutions that help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Youth Assembly delegates, age 16 to 32, come from over 100 countries. Each Assembly attracts between 600-800 youth delegates.
“We are excited to become part of AFS,” says Jason Scorza, Treasurer of the FAF Board of Directors. “Their history and dedication to developing active global citizens, combined with their global reach, will provide a worldwide platform for FAF and the Youth Assembly to expand our mission and offer greater opportunities for young people to make a positive impact.”
“We are thrilled that FAF will join the AFS family,” said Vishakha Desai, Chair of the AFS International Board of Trustees. “The Youth Assembly is a long-standing, well-recognized platform for globally-engaged youth, and an exceptional opportunity for AFS to advance its strategy to develop active global citizens and offer more young people the chance for intercultural engagement.”
“We need to place young people at the center of creating social change,” said Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs. “The Youth Assembly is an amazing opportunity for young leaders to work together to advance sustainable development in their communities and the world.”
The Friendship Ambassadors Foundation history dates back to 1958 when the Fulbright Scholar Harry Morgan wanted to facilitate international travel and cultural exchange. It was eventually transformed into an independent foundation in 1973. Its mission has been to empower youth to become the leaders and changemakers who will strive together to create a sustainable world free of war, oppression, exclusion, and poverty.
AFS Intercultural Programs is a global not-for-profit Network that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. Through our international exchange programs, education initiatives, volunteerism and advocacy, we empower young people from all backgrounds with essential global skills—and the passion for making a difference. Since its founding in 1914, AFS has exchanged more than 500,000 young people all around the world.