Motivated by the desire to empower young people with intercultural understanding, respect for differences and foreign language skills, Jenny K. Messner (USA to Brazil, 1970) and her husband, Michael Messner, established the Speedwell Foundation Study Abroad Scholarship Program. The Foundation also supports inner-city education, college scholarships, and the restoration and expansion of urban parks and green spaces. “My exchange to Brazil in 1970 so profoundly changed my life that when I was able to give back, I knew exactly what I would do […] The program we created with AFS is one of the best returns on investment that we have experienced.”
Who are AFS's notable alumni?
Social entrepreneur Jason Grullón (Dominican Republic to Germany, 2008) co-founded the ethical fashion company, Virtù, which promotes fair prices and empowers the people and communities (in the Dominican Republic and around the world) that produce his quality clothes. The CEO credits his AFS experiences with his motivation to help others. “My AFS experience is so ingrained in the way I approach both personal and business decisions that I consider it one of the main drivers of my ventures.”
“The fundamental richness of human beings is in understanding the other,” says Susana Malcorra (Argentina to USA, 1971), the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina. An engineer by training, these words have served the former Head of the Executive Office at the United Nations well in her impressive career in public service. Over the years the Argentine alumna has advocated for intercultural dialogue as a tool for resolving global challenges such as the current refugee crisis and fostering peace in the world. Having served as Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Susana also knows first hand what it takes to provide humanitarian aid in more than 80 countries.
Who can participate in the survey?
Former AFS study abroad participants—people who went on an AFS exchange program (year or semester school program, summer/short-term exchange, language program, gap-year, volunteer-service or university program) can take the survey.
AFS develops active global citizens who take action to make a positive difference where they live, study, work and volunteer. Our study abroad, education and volunteer programs empower people of all ages and backgrounds with essential intercultural knowledge, skills and understanding. As a leading nonprofit international education organization, we believe global competence is fundamental to building just and peaceful societies.