Going Global

Friendship Force exchanges have traditionally taken the mode of a planned interaction between two clubs, one hosting and the other visiting. Each club chooses an Exchange Director, and the two ED’s coordinate all of the arrangements for the exchange. It has also been possible for individual members to join an exchange along with members of another club, in cases where the visiting club does not have the maximum number of participants. This type of exchange will continue to be the core of the Friendship Force experience.

In recent years, however, another type of exchange has been developed and encouraged by Friendship Force International. This is the Global Exchange. In this model, one or more host clubs prepare an exchange centered around a specific theme. The theme is chosen to highlight a particular aspect of the host club’s history, culture or location. The exchange is then publicized by FFI, and is open to members throughout the world. The result is a mixed group of visiting ambassadors, who may originate in diverse countries, speak different languages, and represent a range of ages, but who are united by a common interest.

Friendship Force of Northern Illinois presented its first Global Exchange in 2012: Fun Adventures with Food. In cooperation with clubs in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, we highlighted foods and food-related activities of the American Midwest. We hosted 21 ambassadors from Japan, Canada, Australia, and other parts of the US.   We have also presented Arts and Architecture in 2014, and Film Festival (jointly with Friendship Force of Chicago) in 2016.

Some of our members have participated in Global Exchanges hosted by other clubs.

  • Alternative Energy: FF Northern Colorado
  • Russian Far East and Mongolia: An Exchange to three new clubs