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News

Celebrating 65 Years of Person-to-Person Exchanges

YFUUSAblog

International education nonprofit Youth For Understanding commemorates milestone anniversary

Youth For Understanding USA (YFU), a global leader in nonprofit educational exchanges, celebrated its 65th anniversary on October 26th with a reception at its national headquarters in Washington, DC, chaired by Board of Trustees member, Gloria Garcia. Proceeds from the event support YFU's Financial Aid Fund for American students to study abroad. Dignitaries from area embassies [Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and Paraguay], YFU's Board of Trustees, along with visiting international YFU Partner Directors and friends gathered to honor this milestone event. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of eight national awards (recipients listed below). 

YFU's history began humbly in the United States in 1951 in an effort to heal the wounds of World War II. By teaching a group of young Germans how families lived together in the United States, the hope was that they would help rebuild their homeland according to what they had experienced on exchange. Dr. Rachel Andresen who founded YFU and served as its longtime Executive Director brought this vision to life. In 1973, Dr. Andresen’s commitment to international youth exchange was recognized when she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“YFU has a rich legacy built on more than six decades of excellence in helping students all over the globe find themselves, expand their world and discover intercultural opportunities through studying abroad,” said Michael E. Hill, YFU’s President & CEO. “YFU came into the world to meet the real need to heal a broken world and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing for the past 65 years. Our mission is still as vital as it ever was as our cultural exchange programs provide the ultimate reality check to a worldview based on stereotypes. In helping people of all ages to make the world their home, we help them to appreciate differences and embrace similarities.”

According to Mr. Milton Neshek Member of the Board, Secretary and General Counsel Kikkoman Foods Foundation, “Kikkoman believes in “Flavors That Bring People Together,” and the company is devoted to promoting international cultural exchange. Through involvement in quality educational and student exchange programs such as Youth For Understanding for high school students, Kikkoman is committed to enhancing international understanding.”  

YFU is committed to making exchange accessible to as many young people as possible and if you would like to help support a student with a needs-based financial aid scholarship you can make a donation at: yfuusa.org/donate.

2016 Award Recipients:

  • YFU Partnership Award: Kikkoman & Sony Corporation of America
    Selected for their longstanding support of providing scholarships to YFU students. Both of these organizations share a strong commitment to providing young people with global intercultural exchange experiences. Kikkoman’s YFU scholarship program began in 1978 and Sony Corporation of America’s in 2005.
     
  • Award for Education Innovation: Sally Schwartz
    Award is given to an educator who has made significant contributions to the field of education through their service and commitment to the value and importance of cultural exchange and experience of students.

     
  • YFU Lifetime Achievement: Ron Lehker
    Selected for this honor based on his countless hours of volunteer work and his decades of work for and with YFU students. Of special note, Ron accompanied, our Founder, Dr. Rachel Andresen on one of YFU’s earliest voyages.
     
  • Distinguished Alumni: Jeanne Pierce & Laurie Sutch
    Selected for their tireless work on YFU pre-departure orientations for American students going overseas. Their dedication to these orientations has helped countless students successfully prepare to study abroad and successfully complete their exchange programs.
     
  • Volunteer Award: Donna Schnaars
    Recognizing the highly valued role our volunteers play in fulfilling our mission, this year’s Volunteer Awardee works as a tireless champion of our volunteers. Donna is one of our valued Trustees and has hosted more than a dozen students.
     
  • Host Family Award: Lynnell & John Pemble, Jim & Joanne Miller, Sharon & Don Strasser
    At the core of what we do are our volunteers and Host Families. We are recognizing three families that have opened their hearts and homes to more thanr 25 students, combined! We simple could not exist without these families.
     
  • Distinguished Donor: Brian Bucks
    Selected for his strong financial support of YFU programs since 1998, helping to advance and foster cultural understanding and international friendships.

  • YFU Distinguished High School Award: Marcellus High School (Michigan) & Ross Beatty High School (Michigan)
    Selected for embracing the value of study abroad among its students by opening the doors of their schools to international exchange students.

 

Celebration Sponsors:

  • Skylink Travel House – Sparkling Reception Sponsor
  • Eat & Smile Catering – Event Sponsor
  • Drift on 7th – Event Sponsor
  • Westpy Marketing Services – Event Sponsor
  • WTSO (Wines ‘Til Sold Out) – Event Sponsor
  • UrbanStems – Event Sponsor
  • Kprise Technologies – Event Sponsor
  • Goetz Printing – Event Sponsor
  • Douglas Development Corporation – Event Sponsor
  • Interface Media Group – Event Sponsor

 

Photos from the Celebration are available on Facebook

Jan Patrick Eckendorf, Deputy Head of Cultural Section at the Embassy of Germany; Ambassador Laurence Wohlers, YFU USA Board Trustee; Michael E. Hill, YFU USA President & CEO; Gloria Garcia, YFU USA Board Trustee and Celebration Chair

Jan Patrick Eckendorf, Deputy Head of Cultural Section at the Embassy of Germany; Ambassador Laurence Wohlers, YFU USA Board Trustee; Michael E. Hill, YFU USA President & CEO; Gloria Garcia, YFU USA Board Trustee and Celebration Chair

Sandra Ostertag, YFU Paraguay National Director; Ambassador Germán Rojas from the Embassy of Paraguay and wife Cynthia Duarte Rojas; Scott Messing, YFU USA Vice President & Chief Operating Officer; Michael E. Hill, YFU USA President & CEO

Sandra Ostertag, YFU Paraguay National Director; Ambassador Germán Rojas from the Embassy of Paraguay and wife Cynthia Duarte Rojas; Scott Messing, YFU USA Vice President & Chief Operating Officer; Michael E. Hill, YFU USA President & CEO