My name is Asami Oki. I’m a second year student at Hiroshima Jyogakuin University. I’d like to thank Tomoko Watanabe and David Hurley for giving me this opportunity to introduce the volunteer organization “AFS” to readers of the ANT-Hiroshima blog.
Have you ever heard of “AFS”?
It is widely known as an Intercultural Program all over the world.
The organization AFS, which stands for “American Field Service,” was founded by the American volunteers in 1914, in order to rescue wounded soldiers regardless of their nationality during the First and Second World Wars.
After the Second World War, the founders realized that only rescuing soldiers was not enough; it was also necessary to prevent people from making wars in order to achieve world peace. Then, they made a new start with AFS as a cultural exchange program for high school students for world peace in 1947.
AFS has widely spread over the world and it has more than seventy chapters in Japan and I work in the Hiroshima Chapter as a volunteer. I am a sub-leader of the student volunteers. The Hiroshima Chapter has about fifteen members. We have five exchange students who all came from different countries this year. We regularly conduct the events for exchange students throughout a year.
The biggest event of the Hiroshima chapter is “Hiroshima Peace Study Tour” which is an annual event aiming to have exchange students learn about the catastrophe of Hiroshima and the global problem we face and also help them think about what they can do for world peace.
This year it was conducted on August 17th to 20th (a four day tour).The total of the student participants was seventeen including students who belong to other chapters in Japan.
In the program, we visited Peace Memorial Park, Peace Memorial Museum and also Miyajima to understand Japanese Culture. We also took the lecture by Mr. Berin McKenzie, and heard the testimony of an A-bomb victim.
After visiting the museum we had a Peace Session to discuss the issues surrounding peace and had students make presentations on “Peace”. I think it was very precious experience for the exchange students. It was also good experience for us volunteer staff because we could learn different opinions of those who have different cultural backgrounds, which taught us a lot and made us think even more seriously about peace.
All AFS volunteer staff members are hoping that exchange students will tell their families or friends about what they learned in Hiroshima and make actions for peace in their own ways.
If you would like to know more about AFS, please check out this web page:
Another web page of Hiroshima Chapter is:
We are looking for host families for the exchange students coming next year. and we are also recruiting new members for the Hiroshima chapter If you are interested in hosting an exchange student or being a member please contact us.
You can send an e-mail this address: firstname.lastname@example.org