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News - Youth For Understanding USA

Latest news about Youth for Understanding USA student exchange programs worldwide – Events – Partnerships.

Founders Week - April 8 - April 14, 2013

Jennifer McKendree

April 8th marks an important day for Youth For Understanding (YFU) around the world. It marks the birthday of the towering figure whom we rightfully consider the founder of YFU: Rachel Andresen.


Rachel Josephine Andresen

Born: April 8, 1907, in Deerfield MI
Died:  November 3, 1988, in South Lyon MI.

Youth For Understanding is a dream come true...To be part of it brings out the best in all of us. Each of us who has shared the magic of its being has contributed [to] something bigger than we are. Wehave learned to love and be loved, to trust and be trusted, to open our homes and our hearts to all people, everywhere.

 ~ Rachel Andresen, 1959. 

Motivated by a desire to help heal the wounds of World War II, Dr. Rachel Andresen of Ann Arbor, Michigan brought German teenagers to live with American families for a one-year cultural and educational immersion. Borne of this effort, she founded Youth For Understanding (YFU) an international nonprofit, high school student exchange program. YFU has since grown to exchange more than 250,000 students among 60+ countries. Rachel Andresen’s work in the field of international youth exchange earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 1973. She was also cited as one of the “founding five” of international citizen exchanges.  In his 1985 book, Bring Home the World, author Stephen Rhinesmith (past president of American Field Service), dedicated his book, “To Rachel Andresen, Dwight Eisenhower, William Fulbright, Stephen Galatti and Donald Watt whose collective vision of the possibilities of international exchanges have enabled hundreds of thousands of us to bring home the world.”