As a leader in intercultural learning, AFS develops and supports educational initiatives that give people a greater understanding of other cultures and their place in the global community. This is made possible by the committed and talented people around the world who make up the AFS Network. 

AFS draws on a network of supporters and advisors who are backed by decades of experience and credentials. As some of the leading voices in the field of intercultural learning, these experts bring a wide range of knowledge, as well as a familiarity with research, policy, educational tools and communication techniques. 

On a local level, AFS Volunteers receive extensive training in communications practices and theory, so that they can facilitate intercultural learning experiences for participants and host families, as well as local schools, educators and community organizations.

With support from a wide pool of resources, including a distinguished Educational Advisory Council, an active AFS Network Intercultural Learning Work Group, professional staff and grassroots volunteers, AFS makes regular and significant contributions to intercultural learning and global education.

Meet three of our Educational Leaders

Annette Gisevius

Annette Gisevius is the head of the Intercultural Learning Department at AFS Germany. She holds a Masters degree in Culture Studies from Leuphana University, Germany, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Angelo State University in Texas, USA. In addition to curriculum development, she facilitates intercultural training and is an intercultural coach, a certified administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory and the Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory, and a certified trainer of Technology of Participation (TOP ©).

Dr. Irid Agoes

Dr. Irid Agoes was one of the founding members of the AFS Asia-Pacific Initiative and served as Partner Director of AFS Indonesia for 10 years. She is also a former AFS International Trustee and AFS Indonesia Board Member. Irid recently retired as Director of The Institute of International Education (IIE) in Indonesia and Director of the Indonesian International Education Foundation (IIEF. She is currently the Chair of the American Studies Graduate Programs of Universitas Indonesia, Chair of the Indonesian Intercultural Studies Centre, President of SIETAR Indonesia, a Lecturer on Intercultural Relations at the University of Indonesia and President of the International Muslim Women Scholars in Indonesia.

Roberto Ruffino

Roberto Ruffino is the Secretary General of Intercultura, the Italian national agency for international pupil exchanges at the secondary school level. He is also Honorary Chairman of EFIL, the European Federation for Intercultural Learning. In 2007 he was one of the founders of the Intercultural Foundation that promotes research and experimentation in educational exchanges. In assigning him an honorary doctor degree in educational sciences, the University of Padua defined him as “an entrepreneurial leader in the field of intercultural education, which he has contributed to introduce into the schools; the merit of his work in the field of educational exchanges is recognized and valued internationally”

AFS & Intercultural Learning

The exchange programs offered by AFS are focused on increasing intercultural competence.

AFS Educational Goals

AFS programs are built around key educational goals, giving more than 400,000 individuals the tools to grow into responsible global citizens.

Supportive Learning Approach

A supportive learning approach guides participants and host families through each step of the AFS program.

AFS & Exchange Programs

AFS provides intercultural learning experiences that bring global cultures together by helping people connect.


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Get more specific information about AFS Programs and activity in your country.