About Friendship Force International
The Friendship Force is an international, non-political, non-sectarian, and non-profit organization. The sole aim of the Friendship Force is to foster peace and understanding throughout the world by means of personal contacts and shared experiences achieved through a programme of home hosting. The Friendship Force was founded in the USA in 1977 by Wayne Smith under the auspices of President Jimmy Carter and is coordinated from the international headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. There are over 300 clubs in over 60 countries throughout the world. The Friendship Force is not a travel club although the core activity is travelling in groups, to stay with like-minded people in other countries (a cultural exchange). The first priority is to develop friendships and through this to generate understanding across cultural boundaries.
Most clubs in New Zealand participate in at least one outward and two inbound exchanges per year. Each year clubs all over the world nominate clubs they would like to visit and the clubs they would like to host. These requests are sent to and collated by, Friendship Force International in Atlanta. Visiting groups, usually about 20 – 30 people from the ‘ambassador’ club, travel to, and stay as, guests in the homes of host club usually for about 1 week. By so doing, ideas and experiences are shared, cultural horizons are widened, trust and mutual respect is developed, and truly memorable times are enjoyed. An exchange is a sharing experience for hosts and ambassadors.
Lifetime friendships are formed.
The Ambassador Club
The Ambassador Club appoints an Exchange Director whose task is to arrange the visit, invite club members to join the exchange programme, liaise with the host club’s Exchange Director, and make travel arrangements. Briefings (workshops) are arranged to learn about the host clubs to be visited, their country and customs, and to ensure ambassadors understand and are prepared to uphold the principles of The Friendship Force.
The Hosting Club
The Host Club provides ambassadors accommodation with its members and arranges a programme that usually includes a welcome and a farewell event. A day trip is usually included and, for the remainder of the stay, the hosts may show their ambassador guests the local points of interest. However, most importantly, ambassadors are welcomed into everyday living and sharing of the host’s lifestyle. The host does not receive any remuneration. The hosting club receives a per capita sum from the ambassadors to offset the costs of the programme for the incoming exchange ambassadors.
A Real Living Experience
You can enjoy:
- Unique travel experiences focused on friendships.
- Host interesting people from around the world.
- Participate in community activities that promote lasting friendships.
For more information on current exchanges click here or go to the Exchanges page.
The Friendship Force Pledge
As a member of the Friendship Force,
I recognise that I can make a difference.
I recognise that I have a mission.
That mission is to be a friend to the people of the world.
As I embark upon this adventure,
I know that others are watching me.
I know that through my example to my own fellow citizens
and the people of other nations,
the cause of friendship, love and peace can be furthered.
I can make a difference