We bring the world together.
Founded in 1964, the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) is one of the oldest, largest and most respected cultural exchange organizations in the world. With global offices in 6 countries, we organize cultural exchange programs for more than 50,000 participants each year. Our programs include college study abroad, au pair placement, camp counselors and staff, gifted education, college prep, high school study/travel and insurance services. Since 1964, more than 1.5 million exchange students and teachers have participated in AIFS programs worldwide. Read More.
Sir Cyril Taylor, AIFS Founder and Chairman
Born in Yorkshire, England, Sir Cyril Taylor is the founder and Chairman of AIFS. His long and distinguished career in public service and education includes many accomplishments. At age 18, he was awarded a National Service Commission with the King’s African Rifles. After completing his military service, he took an honors degree in history at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was then awarded the Charles Bell Scholarship by the London Chamber of Commerce to pursue the MBA degree at Harvard Business School.
After graduating from Harvard, Sir Cyril accepted a position in brand management with Procter & Gamble at the company’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. During his time with P & G, he developed an idea for an innovative new business. In 1964, he left the comfort and security of his corporate job at P & G to found the American Institute For Foreign Study. More than 45 years later, AIFS has global offices in 6 countries and annual revenues in excess of $180 million. Today, Sir Cyril continues to serve as Chairman of AIFS.
In 1972, AIFS founded Richmond, The American International University in London, which is now a free-standing, non-profit American university accredited by both US and British authorities to award degrees. Richmond currently has a student body of around 1,000 full time students from over 100 countries. Sir Cyril was Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1972-2005 and now serves as its first Chancellor.
From 1987-2007, Sir Cyril served as Chairman of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust on a voluntary unpaid basis (working up to three days per week) for 20 years both as adviser to ten successive Secretaries of State for Education (5 Conservative and 5 Labour) and as Chair of the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust. During this time, 2,882 specialist secondary schools, academies and city technology colleges have been established. This is over 90% of all English secondary schools. His duties included helping to raise sponsorship (over 300 million pounds), helping schools to raise their standards of performance, advising on policy and working closely with civil servants and ministers. Specialist schools achieved 62.3% 5 A*-C grades at GCSE in 2007, more than a third better than the level achieved ten years ago. Sir Cyril continues to serve the SSAT as a Trustee.
Sir Cyril also served as High Sheriff of Greater London 1996-1997. During his year in office, he visited many of the prisons in London, as well as spending time with high court judges, probation services and the police. He completed a special study of young offenders (Tough on the Causes of Crime) and recommended policy changes for their treatment to the Home Secretary.
Over the years, Sir Cyril has remained active in public service and received a number of honors for his work. From 1977 to 1986, he served on the Greater London Council, and during this time was elected deputy leader. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s 1989 Birthday Honours for services to education, and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the 2004 New Year Honours List. He holds honorary degrees from four universities.
Sir Cyril is the author of many publications, including most recently his latest book A Good School for Every Child, published by Routledge in 2008, and How English Universities Could Learn
from the American Higher Education System. See www.cyriltaylor.com
A world traveler, Sir Cyril today resides with his wife in London.