AIFS Foundation Supports International Exchange and Cultural Education
Stamford, Conn., June 22, 2017 – The American Institute for Foreign Study Foundation announces 10 recipients of the 2017 Tony Cook Memorial Grants awarded by Academic Year in America, a leader among high school foreign exchange programs in the United States.
Academic Year in America is a not-for-profit organization designated by the U.S. Department of State to offer J-1 cultural exchange visas to international students. AYA programs give high school students around the world opportunities to learn about American culture while attending school and living with volunteer host families. Since 1981, AYA has helped more than 30,000 students and host families participate in foreign exchange to learn about other cultures and languages—and build lifelong friendships.
AYA is sponsored by the AIFS Foundation, which was founded with the assistance of the late Robert F. Kennedy and administers the Tony Cook Memorial Grants. Tony Cook was a former trustee of the AIFS Foundation. For nearly 30 years, he served his country as a career officer in the U.S. Information Agency. Cook was a champion of the merits of cultural exchange and dedicated his life to international communications and understanding.
Tony Cook Memorial Grants are awarded each year to American high schools demonstrating commitment to international exchange by hosting foreign students and developing projects, programs and/or events that teach American youth about the global economy.
“These grants honor the legacy of Tony Cook to foster international education and cultural exchange initiatives, to increase opportunities for American students to excel and provide positive impressions of the United States for students visiting from other nations. Now, more than ever, these programs are imperative to prepare students for a greater level of international competition and communication, in pursuit of academic and professional advancement,” said Melanie French, executive director of AYA.
In memory of Tony Cook, each of the following high schools will receive $1000 for their ongoing support of cultural education and international exchange:
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AYA is a not-for-profit organization designated by the U.S. Department of State to offer J-1 cultural exchange visas to international students. AYA is sponsored by the American Institute For Foreign Study Foundation, which was founded with the assistance of the late Robert F. Kennedy in 1967. Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2017, AYA has offered more than 30,000 students and host families the rewarding experience of learning about another culture and language and making a new lifelong friend.
This program opened my eyes to a culture and society I knew very little about. I made great friends and had a fabulous time during the process. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.Jessica Cobb, Western Michigan University
I chose this program because of everything it offered. The fact that everything was included made the experience much less stressful. The people working for the program definitely ensured we got the most out of our time here. The AIFS cultural activities and excursions were excellent. It was a wonderful life experience I will have with me forever.Stephanie Bingham, Oklahoma State University
Growing up with an au pair made me much more aware that there were cultures and societies other than mine. This had a significant impact on me specifically because I was exposed to foreign cultures at such a young age.Ryan Comerford, age 21