At a time when the world is overcome by pandemics both viral and societal, AFS’s guiding principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility are more urgent than ever. – Hannah Greene, AFS-USA Returnee and Volunteer 

AFS Students and Host Families are celebrated for embracing cultural differences, but we still have work to do. Discrimination is the greatest threat to a community that is built on acceptance and inclusion. At AFS-USA, we bear witness every single day at how, by opening peoples’ minds and exposing them to new people, cultures, and experiences, we can change our perspectives and respect and embrace our differences as we foster lifelong friendships. 

We call all people to action, especially our AFS-USA community and others who already understand the power of person-to-person diplomacy because they have experienced it firsthand. 

“The AFS community is a platform of millions of students, host families, volunteers, and educators all committed to a more inclusive world. AFS has had a major role in our lives and taught us to be willing to listen to new perspectives. NOW, more than ever, is the time to use that platform to reach people who know how to listen – to mobilize a community of lifelong allies”, says AFS Returnee Hannah. 

AFS-USA stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We believe one person can make a difference. Our mission calls upon us to make the world a more just and peaceful home for everyone. It is precisely in a moment such as this one where each of us, united and determined, can move us closer to the peace and justice that we value and uphold over all else. 

We can work together to become better and more active allies. The first step is to educate ourselves about structural and institutionalized racism. Some top Anti-Racism Resources collected by AFS Returnees Hannah Greene and Safia Ali can be found here:

Download Anti-Racism Resources Guide

This article was written in collaboration with AFS Returnees and Volunteers Hannah Greene and Safia Ali.