Canada World Youth

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"CWY" redirects here. For the aircraft runway area, see Clearway (aviation). For the region of Wales, UK, see Conwy County Borough.

Canada World Youth is an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing dynamic youth, ages 15–25, with an opportunity to learn about other communities, cultures and people while developing leadership and communications skills.

Founded in 1971 by the late Honourable Jacques Hébert (1923–2007) a former Canadian senator and lifelong promoter of youth and international development programs; Canada World Youth has sent over 35,000 youth volunteers in 68 countries worldwide to participate in its programs over the last 40 years.


Canada World Youth's mission is to increase the ability of people, and especially youth, to participate actively in the development of just, harmonious, and sustainable societies.


In the Youth Leaders in Action program, a team of 9 young Canadians and 9 young people from a partner country spend 6 months together doing volunteer work: 3 months in a Canadian community and 3 months in a community in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, or Latin America.

Each young Canadian is matched with a participant from the exchange country for the entire period. This is a unique opportunity to become involved as a volunteer, discover other cultures, learn another language, and become a true citizen of the world.

A program for schools or youth groups interested in developing academic or educational trips overseas. Length varies between 2 weeks and 3 months; for groups of young people aged 15 and up.

CWY offers international internships with Québec sans frontières in collaboration with the Department for International Development, Minister of International Relations of Quebec and the Quebec Association of International Cooperation Agencies(AQOCI). Quebec residents have the opportunity to put their knowledge into action and to gain valuable experience while participating in the preparation and implementation of international cooperation projects.

Student Network members organize projects and events that raise awareness about CWY’s mission and vision on university campuses and in communities across the country, which increases young Canadians’ skills and knowledge about international development (particularly in the areas of environment, health, gender equity), young people’s role in development, as well as youth leadership.

Canada World Youth is committed to strengthening and supporting the capacity of Aboriginal youth to be leaders by participating and benefitting from local, national and international programs. All of our programs are opened to Aboriginal young people, however, we also offer 3 programs specifically designed for Aboriginal youth:

Impact Study[edit]

Thousands of young people from Canada and around the world assert that Canada World Youth (CWY) has had a profound impact on their lives. To better understand this impact, CWY carried out an ambitious evaluation project in 2005. The objective was to measure the outcomes of CWY programs, not only on past participants, but also on the communities that had hosted them.

The conclusions of this study speak volumes: through its innovative model based on non-formal education, the CWY program has a profound, long-lasting impact on participants and members of host communities.

Sample and method

The study was conducted with 578 past participants and host community members who had taken part in programs between 1993 and 2003; - in five countries that had hosted CWY programs: Benin, Canada, Cuba, Thailand, and Ukraine.

Key results

Past participants indicate that the CWY program: has a remarkable influence on their values and attitudes (open-mindedness, self-confidence) and on their knowledge of themselves and of another country; allows them to hone their communication, learning, and organizational skills; provides the opportunity to forge lasting friendships and make professional contacts that remain useful long after the program has ended.

Members of host communities feel that the CWY program: has a lasting impact, particularly with regard to interpersonal relationships, values, attitudes, and knowledge of another country; is a window on Canadian and international diversity and today's youth.

Final Report

See the complete results of the CWY Impact Study *"here" (PDF). 


Canada World Youth has an incredible diversity of partners, including non-profit entities, educational institutions, government bodies, and grassroots community organizations.

Among the main partners are :

Partner countries since 1971[edit]

Antilles and America[edit]



Central and East Europe[edit]



1971 Canada World Youth is founded by Jacques Hébert.

1972-1973 The first groups of young Canadians are sent to Cameroon, Malaysia, Mexico, Tunisia, and the former Yugoslavia.

1981 Ten years after its creation, CWY is running educational programs between Canada and more than twenty-five countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

1989 The Netherlands creates a program inspired by the CWY model. Sweden and Great Britain follow suit in 1993 and 1999, respectively.

1991 CWY runs its first programs with schools and youth groups. Since then, hundreds of high school and college students have had the chance to learn about international cooperation and solidarity through the Global Learner program.

1994 CWY runs its first programs with partners in Central and Eastern Europe.

1996 Jacques Hébert's book Hello, World!, in which he describes the creation of Canada World Youth, is published.

1996-1997 CWY participants meet with Team Canada India (January 1996) and in Thailand (January 1997).

1997 CWY participants become eligible for a college-level certificate through Cégep Marie-Victorin. Afterwards, several other colleges and universities also begin to offer equivalencies and academic credit to CWY participants, confirming the educational value of CWY programs.

1999 Prime Minister Jean Chrétien meets with CWY participants during his official visit to Poland.

CWY becomes the lead agency of the NetCorps Canada International coalition, an innovative program focusing on information and communication technologies and funded by Industry Canada.

The first world conference of CWY past participants is held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

2001 CWY celebrates its 30th anniversary.

2003 With support from the "Canada Fund for Africa" administered by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), CWY creates fifty new trilateral programs with African partners: the Africa-Canada Eco-leadership Programs (ACELP).

2004 Canada Corps awards one of its first grants to the NetCorps coalition, which includes Canada World Youth.

2006 CWY celebrates its 35th anniversary. Approximately one hundred cities across Canada proclaim the week of October 15 to 21, 2006 to be Canada World Youth week.

An extensive evaluation project concludes that the CWY program has a positive and lasting impact on its young volunteers and on host community members.

2007 Jacques Hébert, the founder of Canada World Youth, passes away (1923–2007). His work has led to the creation of thousands of young global citizens who are equipped to cultivate tolerance and resolve conflict in constructive and peaceful ways.

2010 Canada World Youth hosts its first International Learning Forum with all its current international partners.

2011 Canada World Youth celebrates its 40th anniversary through 40 events in 40 cities around the world during Canada World Youth Week. An official proclamation of Canada World Youth Week was announced in 150 municipalities across Canada.


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