AFS Intercultural Programs pioneered exchanges for young people 60 years ago when 52 young people from 10 different countries came to the United States for a year-long exchange experience. The hope for the AFS founders was that by having many young people walking and talking together they would create the basis for a more just and peaceful world. The need for intercultural exchanges today is a great as it ever was.

AFS is sponsoring a major, high profile undertaking for its 60th anniversary year that will be a Petition Drive to gather signatures in support of a global expansion of youth exchange programs.

The petition will be a worldwide effort that will not only involve AFS, but many other organizations and people with an interest in promoting peace through intercultural understanding. Between April 27, 2007 and April 27, 2008 we hope to collect at least one million signatures or more in support of this petition. The petition and its signatures will be presented to the United Nations in a ceremony on June 6, 2008. The AFS 60th Anniversary celebrations October 26 - 28, 2007 in New York will mark the half-way point in the campaign. On October 27, we will recognize the efforts to date in connection with the main anniversary event, the World Peace Forum.

The Petition Drive had its international launch at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo on April 27th at an event attended by representatives from the world wide AFS leadership, as well as current and former program participants, host families, volunteers and representatives from other organizations.

AFS organizations around the world are actively supporting this initiative and are mobilizing local community support for the petition. At the end of the petition drive in October the local AFS organizations and our generous sponsors and supporters will be encouraged to present the signatures to their national ministries of education, local constituencies and other organizations that can help make a difference in the scope and breadth of youth exchange programs.

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