More than fifty years ago, AIFS was founded to provide the highest quality education and cultural exchange programs to enrich the lives of young people throughout the world. We adopted a vision which simply states we bring the world together.
As a global organization, we recognize that we are all citizens of the world. We embrace people from all walks of life, all religions and all nationalities. AIFS Study Abroad stands united in support of cultural exchange through public diplomacy, and we encourage our participants to do the same.
As college students living and studying in countries around the world, our participants have tremendous power to represent America on a personal, impactful level to people they meet abroad. You represent where you come from to your classmates, your teachers, the people in the businesses you frequent—all of the friends and acquaintances you acquire in your activities as a student abroad are opportunities to improve the way your home is perceived.
And it works both ways. When you return to the U.S., you’ll be brimming with a wealth of stories, experiences and impressions from the places you traveled as a student abroad. In sharing your personal experience, you have the opportunity to help others form a more realistic understanding of people, places and lifestyles that may be outside of their firsthand experience.
At a time when our national policies on immigration are having a profound impact on the world stage, we encourage you to stay aware of policy changes and world events making the news and to continue international dialogue with open minds and benevolent intent.
Our world is a beautiful place. Let’s continue to embrace the ideals of cultural exchange and foster greater understanding among the people of the world as we strive toward a world full of peace, diversity and inclusion.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."