About YFU IES
YFU International Educational Services, Inc., is a non-profit corporation incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware, United States of America and the global umbrella organisation of Youth For Understanding (YFU). The Organization is governed through the General Assembly, which consists of all of the members of the Organization, the International Board and the Global Office.
The Global Office is the global structure that works to enable the YFU membership worldwide to achieve its mission by providing leadership, critical services and opportunities to grow and thrive as sustainable and quality organizations.
Our Purpose & Mission
The purpose of YFU IES, as stated in its bylaws, is to advance intercultural understanding, life-long learning, global competencies, mutual respect and social responsibility through transformational educational exchanges for generations of youth, families and communities, supported by dedicated volunteers and professional staff.
For this purpose, the Global Office safeguards quality & performance within the global organization and its members, provides leadership, executes the global strategy and delivers quality services for the global organization and membership at global level.
Specifically, the Global Office provides the global YFU membership with overall coordination, governance, leadership and operational core services and contributes to more efficient and streamlined output and synergies. It also has an outward-facing focus in order to influence external factors and benefit from external advocacy, fundraising and training opportunities.
The goal is to serve the entire membership with its expertise and skills, and scale current activities like training and capacity building (e.g. LOOP manual/Let’s grow together), advocacy, public affairs, partnerships and additional educational activities (e.g. Coloured glasses) to a global level, benefiting the entire membership.
Finally, it interacts, collaborates and positions YFU with external partners, such as United Nations organizations, Civil Society organizations, donors and funders, governments, universities, institutions and other global partners (e.g. businesses etc.)
Our Global Strategy 2023-2027
YFU invites generations of youth, families, and communities to “make the world their home” by participating in transformational educational exchange programs. For over seventy years, we’ve been building a more peaceful world through advancing intercultural understanding, life-long learning, global competencies, mutual respect and social responsibility. Our network stretches across 6 continents, and more than 50 countries.
We believe in what we do and over the next 5 years, we are determined to take it to greater heights than ever before. And this is how we are going to achieve it:
Living Exchange: Improve and Grow our Core Program
Our core program - long-term intercultural exchange - puts young people on a path to reflect on who they truly are and who they want to become through immersing them in a foreign culture. We will empower as many people as possible – of all origins, ages and backgrounds - to develop the skills and mindset needed to engage as global citizens for a better world.
We will continue to work to improve the quality of our programs – because better quality programs mean better outcomes for our students, for our host families and for the world.
And we will enlarge YFU’s global footprint by developing programs in areas of the world where YFU is not present yet but should be in service of our mission.
Living Community: It's all about our people
YFU is all about the people: our worldwide community is the backbone of our organization. It is made up of engaged, driven, forward-looking people, connected by the same values and striving to make a difference in the society around them.
We will continue to invest in engaging with and training our volunteers and staff to make sure they are competent in what they do – but also passionate and supported.
We will help our people, around the world and at all levels, to stay connected and engaged, in service of the mission of YFU.
And we will support YFU organizations nationally to develop and strengthen their local volunteer networks, benefitting from the strong and experienced global network that we are.
Our community is what drives our organization to better itself, year after year - the beating heart of who we are. We are proud to call ourselves a family.
Living Education: Demonstrate and Expand the impact of YFU in society
YFU exchange programs are all about learning – learning for life, to have an impact in society. We will provide our students and host families the up-to-date and relevant tools that they need to be able to make sense of a rapidly evolving world and to be agents of positive change, during their exchange experience and beyond.
We will establish a global public affairs portfolio to influence policy relevant for the mission of YFU and to position YFU as an expert and partner in intercultural education.
And we will work to create more opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to participate in our programs by building partnerships with people and organizations who share our vision of a more peaceful world and who are willing to help us help the next generation.
Living Organization: Sustainable, efficient, professional
To stay at the top of its field, YFU needs to constantly develop. We need to run our organizations and network with a mission-driven heart and a business-oriented mindset, passionate and professional.
We will therefore strive for continuous improvement on all levels and in all areas of the organization, keeping quality and compliance at the forefront of our actions.
We will invest in establishing tools and systems that will make managing our programs and our collaboration more efficient and effective.
And we will develop YFU in a sustainable manner, by establishing a global environmental sustainability as well as a universal staff and volunteer welfare policy.
YFU has, for more than 70 years, been creating beautiful stories and life-changing experiences that make the world a more understanding and a more peaceful place. Intercultural youth exchange is how we change our world for the better. And our Global Strategy 2023-2027 is a commitment to reconfirm YFU’s role as change agent, service provider and global community builder, and ensure that the proposed direction fits the challenges that the world’s societies and individuals face.