Friendship Force International
Friendship Force International is a non-profit organization founded in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, and introduced on March 1, 1977, by President Jimmy Carter at a White House gathering of state governors. First Lady Rosalynn Carter served as Honorary Chairperson until 2002. In 1992, Friendship Force International was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Friendship Force International (FFI), is an international cultural exchange program, founded in 1977 by Wayne Smith, a Presbyterian minister and former U.S. missionary to Brazil. For the first five years, it used chartered airplanes to shuttle delegations of 150 to 400 visitors between partner cities. The first exchange involved 762 travelers from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, and Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Staying in private homes is a central feature of the program.
In 1982, the plan was changed from large simultaneous exchanges to smaller one-way visits using scheduled airlines, but retaining the basic homestay theme, supported by local clubs in the host countries. Expanding from a few large simultaneous exchanges annually in the early years, Friendship Force now organizes 250-300 smaller exchanges of 20 to 25 visitors each year. It has active clubs in more than 50 countries. In 2007, 5763 visitors, called "friendship ambassadors," traveled between 58 countries, with thousands of club members hosting visitors in their homes.