Dear Editor,

Recently, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry issued a communication to exceptional schools in the U.S. that support public diplomacy efforts by hosting high school exchange students sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. AFS has just learned that Old Bridge High School and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School received this commendation from Secretary Kerry, and we want to express how proud we are to work in educational partnership with these outstanding schools and their visionary leaders.

Nearly 30 years ago, I was welcomed into a U.S. high school as an exchange student from Argentina. The experiences I had while living with a host family, attending school, and becoming a member of a community are what led me to an international career and eventually to become the President of AFS-USA.

As global headlines continue to focus on issues of conflict that affect us all, regardless of where we live, I cannot think of anything more important than creating opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds to understand one another better.  

By opening their doors to host exchange students, Old Bridge and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional are providing all students with opportunities to increase their global awareness and cultural understanding as they continue on the path towards becoming global citizens and the kind of leaders this world needs.

The AFS mission is to help build a more just and peaceful world. Our work would be impossible if not for the outstanding educators, host families, and volunteers who recognize the importance of global exchange.

Thank you, Old Bridge H.S. and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional H.S. We hope that more schools will follow the example you have set by hosting young people from around the world and encouraging U.S. students to have a similar experience abroad.




Jorge Castro


President, AFS-USA and a former AFS Exchange Student to Paw-Paw, Michigan