The AFS Legacy
AFS is a non-profit international exchange organization that operates today in more than 50 countries, organizing and supporting intercultural learning experiences.
AFS emerged from the transportation service established at the Lycée Pasteur (the American Ambulance) after the outbreak of World War I. In spring 1915, A. Piatt Andrew organized it into a Field Service carrying the sick and wounded of the French Army. The American Ambulance Field Service, later to be known as the “American Field Service”, and its 2,500 American volunteers who carried more than 500,000 wounded also drove supply trucks during World War I.
From the early days, AFS set out to bring people together, and to develop an understanding between people of different cultures, sponsoring the AFS Fellowships for French Universities from 1919 on.
This legacy and the personal war experiences were central when today’s organization was founded in 1946, following World War II, by volunteer AFS ambulance drivers, many of whom had already served in World War I. Under the leadership of Stephen Galatti, the American Field Service became a youth exchange organization.
Up to this day, AFS is sustained by an international cadre of tens of thousands of volunteers. It is an international, voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. It has transformed the lives of millions of students, families and individuals.
Ave et Vale, the AFS Legacy in the words of A. Piatt Andrew.