A century of History

AFS was founded in 1915 as the American Field Service Ambulance Corps, and later reactivated in World War II. Having witnessed both the devastation and brutality of those wars, Stephen Galatti, the Director General of the American Filed Service Ambulance Corps during the World War II, chalenged his comrades to focus their post-war efforts on peace building. By bringing high school students from countries formerly at war, tho the United States to live with families, study in secundary schools and developed understantding for each other, the idea was that this could be one way to prevent future conflicts. Exchanges were a radical thought at that time and even Galatii wanted to bring German high scool students to US comunties that had los young men fighting Hitler-s forces.

From 1947 until ther early 1970s AFS exchanges were bilateral between the United States and as many 80 other countries only. Between 1970s and 1990s more and more national AFS organisations became Full Partners, allowing them to work more independent.

Today, AFS has become an international, voluntary, non-government, non profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunites to help people developed the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful word.  More than 13.000 students, young adults and teachers participate in AFS exchange programmes each year.

For more on our history, please go to our Centennial Timeline