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New Orleans Conference 2013

FFI Promotional Material


Welcome to the Friendship Force International website and Press Center. We hope you find everything you need here to help us tell the FFI story.

We are very proud of our work and are constantly looking for ways to take our message to a larger audience and to connect even more people across the globe in friendship.

In 2008 we launched a major re-branding effort, changing our look, logo, slogan, mission and vision in order to refresh our appeal to a younger demographic.

We have also created a new approach to travel with FFI, offering opportunities for ‘themed’ travel. Ambassadors can now choose between trips that focus on humanitarian themes, educational, environmental or cultural themes.

In the 1980’s Friendship Force was one of the first NGO’s to cross the Iron Curtain, breaking down barriers that separate people. Today, our FFI Clubs in Russia are among our strongest and most active in the world.

We believe passionately that the work of connecting people at the personal level, across the cultural, social, religious and language barriers that separate us, is more vital than ever. Our survival as a global village depends on it.

Thank you again for your interest in FFI. If we can do anything to assist you further, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

In friendship,

Kathy Thomas, COO
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Friendship Force International (FFI) is a worldwide network of clubs (local chapters) and individuals that advance our mission of promoting global understanding across the barriers that separate people. We do this by connecting people from different countries at the personal level. When local hosts open their homes to visitors from other countries and cultures, true understanding can develop through the sharing of meals, conversation and the routines of daily life. Since its founding in 1977 FFI has brought together millions of people.  In 2012 alone, 5,443 friendship ambassadors traveled between 54 countries, with thousands more serving as hosts. Our mission, structure and activities are described in our website: http://www.thefriendshipforce.org

FFI Vocabulary

Exchanges – Travel with Friendship Force is called an “exchange.” Historically this term comes from the earliest FF travel where large, charter groups of between 200 and 300 people, traveled to a destination city to be hosted by local citizens. Then, a reciprocal trip, or exchange, occurred where the hosts traveled to the home of their guests.

Today, “exchange” has evolved to refer to the psychological transformation that happens when travelers are exposed to a new country, culture and a new way of seeing the world.

FFI exchanges are conducted through a global network of independently chartered clubs. Volunteers within a local community administer clubs, while the worldwide network is supported by a staff at the headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA and overseen by an international board of directors

Ambassadors – The word we call travelers on our trips. Friendship Ambassadors are charged with going beyond tourist, with a responsibility for and commitment to the FFI mission of “promoting global understanding across the barriers that separate people.”

Hosts – Also known as “ambassador hosts,” welcome travelers into their home providing an up-close look at life in another place. But Hosts also are charged with the responsibility to share their city, country and culture in a meaningful and thoughtful way.

How Friendship Force is changing the world

Friendship Force International brings people together at the personal level through our internationally recognized program of home hospitality, also known as the home stay. This means that a family in another country opens their doors to invite you into their home to share everyday family life. For a few days – times vary with each exchange – you become a temporary citizen, learning about a culture and a country from the inside. We believe that in this way, the barriers of culture, color, religion and ideology are erased allowing people to connect in a profound way as members of the human family.

Friendship Force International also offers themed travel for people interested in humanitarian work; teacher exchanges; and student exchanges. These themed exchanges also offer the opportunity for home hospitality but with the added dimension of a specific focus.

Below are examples of humanitarian exchanges:

Indonesian Teachers get TEFL certificate in U.S.

May 2008 – 20 English teachers from Jakarta, Indonesia, came to the US for three weeks to study in a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) program and to visit American public schools. They were home hosted by the Hartwell, Georgia Club and the Charlotte, N.C. Club

Brasov, Romania – School for the Blind

FF members from seven clubs join forces to take Eye glasses and computers to the Raza de Lumina School for the Blind in Brasov, Romania. Participating Clubs were: Sacramento. San Francisco, Napa-Sonoma, Western Michigan, Lansing, Michigan, Richmond, Virginia and Wellington, New Zealand.

Ghana – Books to elementary schools

September 2006 – Los Angeles FF Club presents 8000 pounds of books to an elementary school in Ghana. The books were a gift from the Huntsville, Alabama club.

Backpacks and Bed Covers to children in Africa

An ongoing service project by the FF of Isle of Wight.

Teaching English in Costa Rica

A multi-club exchange comprised of Ambassadors from U.S. and Canada, traveled to Brasilito, Costa Rica to help elementary children improve their English. The ambassadors prepared games, songs and books to entertain the lively children; they also presented a financial gift, collected from the Ambassadors.

Two Oxen and a Plow to Ugandan Farmers

FF of Lincoln club member Kay Rockwell spearheads a project to improve the lives of Kamuli Farmers by helping them obtain oxen to help with plowing

333 exchanges were conducted in 2012 with 5,443 ambassadors traveling. Thousands more families served as hosts.

377 chartered clubs and programs in 60 countries on 6 continents with more than 18,000 members worldwide.

Friendship Force is a volunteer-driven organization. More than 1,500 volunteer leaders work more than 30,000 hours each year to promote the Friendship Force mission.

225,000 ambassadors and 750,000 hosts have participated in Friendship Force programs since 1977.

Mission

To promote global understanding across the barriers that separate people

Values
Mutual Respect • Cultural Diversity • Cultural Exploration • Service

Vision
Each individual will make a contribution to global goodwill.
The Friendship Force worldwide network of clubs and individuals will overcome differences among people and nations.
By connecting the world, one friend at a time, we will create a world of friends that becomes a world of peace.

Slogan
Changing the Way You See the World

Tagline
Explore • Understand • Serve

Explore: We explore new countries and regions. We explore new cultures and new ways to connect across the barriers that separate us.

Understand: By sharing a home, meals, conversation and everyday experiences, people become friends, seeing beyond governments and borders into the heart of a country and its people. By combining home hospitality with cultural exploration, we reach a new level of understanding.

Serve: Exploration leads to understanding. Understanding leads to an acceptance of our common humanity and the desire to serve our global village—with words and actions.