JFK Addresses AFS Students at the White House – 1963

Back on July 18, 1963, as the AFS [see below] students who had spent their high school year in the United States, were preparing to go back to their countries, they got to visit the White House. JFK talked to them.

It would be another 11 years before I had the privilege to be chosen as an AFS student. I arrived in the United States two weeks after Nixon’s resignation on August 20, 1974. Our group did not get to visit the White House when we went home in July of 1975.

All my life I have been proud to have been an AFS student and to carry the mission forward of spreading peace in the world, one person at a time.

It’s gotten a little more difficult in recent years.

[AFS stands for American Field Service, today the largest and most famed high school student exchange program in the world]

Visiting AFS International

Of all the 2000 plus AFS foreign exchange students who came from all over the world to the United States for a year in 1974/75, some 40 to 60 of us came to New York for our 40-year-reunion.


Dr. Vincenzo Morlini is the current president of AFS International. AFS hosted our group for our reunion kick-off meeting on Friday morning and gave a heartwarming talk about the mission of AFS – bringing peace to the world – one person at a time. He himself was an AFS student in 1966.

Some notable other AFS alumni are:

  • Catherine Coleman, NASA astronaut
  • Jan Eliason, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • Motohide Yoshikawa, Permanent Representative of Japan, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
  • — and thousands of others, including those in our group this weekend.

Click here to learn more about AFS.