AFS Intercultural Programs

AFS Intercultural Programs

AFS (originally the American Field Service) was established in 1915 by A. Piatt Andrew, a onetime economics professor at Harvard University and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. Begun as a service of volunteer ambulance drivers in 1914, [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/Rock/R01.htm] J. Paulding Brown. “The First Months of the American Ambulance (September 1914 to May 1915”; in George Rock, History of the American Field Service, 1920-1955. New York, 1956] AFS has evolved into an international youth exchange organization and has been renamed the AFS Intercultural Programs.

Worldwide, AFS is a group of over 50 independent, not-for-profit organizations, each with its own network of volunteers, professionally staffed office, and volunteer board of directors. In 2007, almost 13,000 participants traveled abroad on AFS cultural exchanges between 65 countries, as supported by 36,000 active volunteers. [ [http://www.afs.org/downloads/files//AFSANNUALREPORT2007.pdf] AFS Annual Report for 2007] The U.S.-based affiliate, AFS-USA, sends more than 1,500 U.S. students abroad and places international students with more than 2,800 U.S. families each year.

History

Early years

When war broke out in 1914, the American Colony of Paris organized an “ambulance” [ [ http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/Herrick/MTH04.htm#ch19] Col. T. Bentley Mott. Myron Herrick. Friend of France. An Autobiographical Biography. Garden City, New York. Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1929] ---the French term for a temporary military hospital--- just as it had done in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 when the “American Ambulance” had been under tents set up near the Paris home of its founder, the celebrated Paris-American dentist, Dr. Thomas W. Evans [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/1-roots/Evans/aaTC.html] Thomas W. Evans, History of the American Ambulance Established in Paris during the Siege of 1870-71, London: Low, Low and Searle, 1873. ] . The “American Ambulance” of 1914 took over the premises of the unfinished Lycée Pasteur in the suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine--- and was run by the nearby American Hospital of Paris.

The volunteer drivers of 1914 found themselves behind the wheels of motorized, not horse-driven, vehicles: Model-Ts, purchased from the nearby Ford plant in Levallois-Perret.

In the fall of 1914, when the warfront moved away from Paris, the American Ambulance set up an outpost in Juilly and sent out detached units of volunteer drivers to serve informally with the British and Belgian armies in the north [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/Rock/R01.html] J. Paulding Brown. “The First Months of the American Ambulance (September 1914 to May 1915),”; in George Rock History of the American Field Service, 1920-1955] . In early 1915, one of those drivers---A. Piatt Andrew--- was appointed “Inspector of Ambulances” by the head of the American Ambulance, one of his colleagues from the Taft Administration. In April 1915, Andrew succeeded in solliciting an agreement from the French High Command [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/APA/APA2.html#Montravel] A. Piatt Andrew. Letters Written Home from France in the First Half of 1915. Privately printed, 1915] authorizing “foreign sanitary sections” to work at the warfront as part of the French Army Automobile Service [ [ http://www.ourstory.info/2/a/SSUs.html] .Official Document] This marked the formal beginning of the American Ambulance’s Field Service, three units of which would made their mark during battles in northern France, the Champagne, Verdun and the Vosges. [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/AFShist/AFS1b.htm#c4] Stephen Galatti, “The Growth of the Service” in History of the American Field Service in France. “Friends of France”. 1914-1917. Told by its Members with Illustrations. Boston and New York. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1920.Stephen Galatti, “The Growth of the Service” in History of the American Field Service in France. “Friends of France”. 1914-1917. Told by its Members with Illustrations. Boston and New York. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1920.]

By the summer of 1916, the Field Service severed its ties with the American Ambulance and moved its operations from cramped quarters in Neuilly to Paris, onto the spacious grounds of the Delessert château at 21 rue Raynouard in the Passy. [ [http://www.ourstory.info/2/a/21.html] “21”] There, it grew rapidly over the next year, continuing to provide “sanitary sections” to the French Army, while also serving as a recruitment source of combat pilots for the newly-formed Escadrille Lafayette [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/library/catalog.html#ww1-8Lafayette Flying Corps] ] , one of whose prime movers, Dr. Edmond Gros, was the Field Service’s in-house physician.

When the United States entered the war in April of 1917, the French Army successfully appealed to the Field Service for drivers for its military transport sections [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/AFSBs/Mallet/RM.html] Mallet Reserve Bulletin] --- and so, no longer limited to medical transport, the organization renamed itself the “American Field Service”, thus establishing today’s well-know acronym, “AFS”.

Before the AFS was absorbed into the much larger, federalized U.S.Army Ambulance Service [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/Smucker/usaacTC.html] John R. Smucker, Jr. The United States Army Ambulance Service in Armies of France and Italy, 1917-1918-1919, USAAS Association. 1967.] , it had numbered more than 2500 volunteers, including some 800 drivers of French military transport trucks. It had actively recruited its drivers from the campuses of American colleges and universities, promoting morale by creating units with volunteers from the same schools. All financed their own uniforms and transportation to France where they worked under the same conditions as French ambulance drivers--- with the same pay--- and often found themselves serving under extremely dangerous missions on the Front. By the end of the war, some 127 men who had served with the AFS were killed and a notable number of individuals and units earned the Croix de Guerre and the Médaille de Guerre for their heroic actions as drivers. [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/AFShist/AFS3i.htm#appc] “Decorations” in History of the American Field Service in France. “Friends of France”. 1914-1917. Told by its Members with Illustrations. Boston and New York. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1920.]

Other volunteer ambulance corps served the French Army as “foreign sanitary sections” during World War I. The first was Henry Harjes’ “Formation” units under the American Red Cross [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/catalog.html#ww1-7] The Harjes Formation] , followed by Richard Norton’s American Volunteer Motor-Ambulance Corps [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/Harvard/HGMdec18.html] William Fenwick Harris. “Richard Norton, 1872-1918” in Harvard Graduates' Magazine, December 1918.] , organized in London under the St. John’s Ambulance (the British Red Cross). Later, both would merge ---under the American Red Cross--- as the “Norton-Harjes”. In the summer and fall of 1917, when all the volunteer ambulance services were invited to join the new U.S. Army Ambulance Service, Norton’s units simply disbanded, while Harjes’, under the American Red Cross, moved into Italy where they would subsequently serve under the USAAS.

Once the Americans entered the war, many drivers joined combat units, both French and American, serving as officers in a wide variety of assignments, notably in air force and artillery units. At the same time, .a large percentage of volunteers signed up for the military, thenceforth members of USAAS units, but remaining identified with their AFS past---a past kept alive through the work of HQ, still at 21 rue Raynouard, where a Bulletin [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/AFSBs/index.html] The American Field Service Bulletins, published at 21, rue Raynouard, Paris, 1917-1919.] was published and where visiting ambulance drivers could find temporary lodgings and meals.

Following the Great War, the AFS became sponsors for the French Fellowships [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/Rock/R02.html] George Rock. ”Between the Wars: The Fellowships for French Universities” in History of the American Field Service, 1920-1955. New York, 1956.] ---graduate student scholarships for study in France and in the US--- which were ultimately administered by the Institute of International Education and were precedents for the Fulbright Foundation exchanges. AFS also created an association for its veterans, publishing a bullletin [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/3-FF/Bulletins/index.html] American Field Service Association Bulletins, 1920-1935] , organizing reunions and contributing a wing to house its memorabilia at the Museum of Franco-American Cooperation in Blérancourt, France [ [http://www.ourstory.info/2/d/Bler/museumTC.html] The Museum of Franco-American Cooperation at Blérancourt] .

When WWII broke out, AFS reorganized its ambulance service [ [http://www.ourstory.info/library/Rock/R00TC.html] George Rock. History of the American Field Service, 1920-1955. New York, 1956.] , sending units first to France and then to the British Armies in North Africa, Italy, India-Burma and with the Free French for the final drive from southern France to Germany.

In September 1946, Stephen Galatti, [ [http://www.afs.org/AFSI/content/page.php?uid=83] About Stephen Galatti] president of AFS established the American Field Service International Scholarships. During the 1947-48 school year the first students came from ten countries including Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Syria.

Modern Day

As of 2005 there are over 50 AFS organizations worldwide, serving over 75 different countries, providing exchange opportunities for over 11,000 students and teachers annually.

AFS is one of the largest volunteer-based organizations of its kind in the world with more than 30,000 volunteers worldwide and more than 8,000 in the U.S. Tens of thousands of volunteers and a small staff make the AFS program happen worldwide. AFS volunteers are both young and old, busy professionals and retirees, and students and teachers. AFS provides development and training opportunities for volunteers.

AFS volunteers help in many areas including facilitating the AFS mission in the local community and schools by finding and interviewing students and families. Further involvement includes serving as a contact person for an AFS student, organizing fund raising events, and arranging activities for AFS students. As volunteer-driven organisation, AFS depends on donations of time to implement and monitor the delivery of programmes.

Notable AFS Ambulance Corps Volunteers

*Vance Bourjaily
*Preston M. Burch
*Malcolm Cowley
*Harry Crosby
*Patrick Dennis
*Sidney Howard
*John Howard Lawson
*J. Roderick MacArthur
*Waldo Peirce

References

ee also

*List of ambulance drivers during WWI
*Student exchange program

External links

* [http://www.afs.org AFS Official Website]
* [http://www.afs.org/AFSI/content/page.php?uid=10 AFS Mission Statement]
* [http://efil.afs.org European Federation for Intercultural Learning]
* [http://www.ourstory.info/ Our Story]
* [http://www.hrvh.org/collections/inst-intro.htm?inst=8 AFS in WWI - Digital Collection]
* [http://afs.hospitalityclub.org/ AFS in the Hospitality Club]
* [http://www.usa.afs.org/usa_en/focus_on/hosting/ Host an AFS Exchange Student]
* [http://www.usa.afs.org/usa_en/focus_on/volunteer/ Volunteer with AFS]
* [http://www.usa.afs.org/usa_en/view/1345/ Scholarships to Study Abroad with AFS]
* [http://www.afswiki.org/index.php/Main_Page AFSWiki Main Page]

AFS Program Countries

* [http://www.afs.org.ar AFS in Argentina]
* [http://www.afs.org.au AFS in Australia]
* [http://www.afs.at AFS in Austria]
* [http://www.afsvlaanderen.be AFS in Belgium - Flanders (Dutch speaking)]
* [http://www.afsbelgique.be AFS in Belgium - Wallonia (French speaking)]
* [http://www.afsbolivia.org AFS in Bolivia]
* [http://www.afs.org.br AFS in Brazil]
* [http://www.afscanada.org/can_en/home AFS in Canada]
* [http://www.afs.cl AFS in Chile]
* [http://www.afs.cz AFS in the Czech republic]
* [http://afs.dk/ AFS in Denmark]
* [http://www.afs.fi AFS in Finland]
* [http://www.afs-fr.org AFS in France]
* [http://www.afs.de AFS in Germany]
* [http://www.afs.org.hk AFS in Hong Kong]
* [http://www.afs.hn AFS in Honduras]
* [http://www.afs.is AFS in Iceland]
* [http://www.bina-antarbudaya.net AFS in Indonesia]
* [http://www.intercultura.it AFS in Italy]
* [http://www.afs.or.jp AFS in Japan]
* [http://www.afs.lv AFS in Latvia]
* [http://www.afs.nl AFS in the Netherlands]
* [http://www.afs.no AFS in Norway]
* [http://www.afs.org.py AFS in Paraguay]
* [http://www.afs.ph AFS in the Republic of the Philippines]
* [http://www.intercultura-afs.pt/ AFS in Portugal]
* [http://www.afs.org.my AFS in Malaysia]
* [http://www.afs.org.nz AFS in Aotearoa / New Zealand]
* [http://www.afs-intercultura.org/index.htm AFS in Spain]
* [http://www.afs.se AFS in Sweden]
* [http://www.afs.ch/ AFS in Switzerland]
* [http://www.afsthailand.org AFS in Thailand]
* [http://www.tkvafs.org/ AFS in Turkey]
* [http://www.afsuk.org/central.html AFS in the United Kingdom]
* [http://www.afs.org/usa AFS in the United States]
* [http://www.afs.org.ve/ AFS in Venezuela]


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