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The International Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE) is an international, non-profit, youth exchange organisation that provides intercultural learning and international voluntary service opportunities to help people break down prejudices, develop intercultural understanding and acquire competences for a more sustainable, just, and peaceful world. ICYE organises long and short-term exchanges in 41 countries around the world.

Through its volunteering and participatory community programmes, ICYE is contributing to gender equality, inclusion, environmental regeneration, and sustainable social change processes with an intercultural, human rights and intersectional approach.

Our Vision

We envision a world of diverse, engaged individuals and communities who can contribute to social justice, solidarity, peace and environmental sustainability.

Our Mission

To provide high quality and impactful intercultural learning experiences and opportunities, as well as capacity building, to all involved in our work, so that they can better contribute for a just, peaceful and sustainable world; especially supporting young people in building personal and professional competencies.

ICYE is committed to and will work with others who are committed to:

  • Justice for all persons who suffer from social, political, economic and personal injustice;
  • Break through the barriers between cultures and peoples;
  • The principle of equality among cultures, nations and sexes;
  • Providing experiences that will encourage international and intercultural understanding;
  • Helping participants to become aware of the issues and problems in the local and national community in order to better understand world-wide socio-economic-political issues and problems;
  • Encouraging commitment to act on these understandings, both during the exchange experience and beyond.

Our History

In 1949, 50 German teenagers ventured across the Atlantic and were welcomed as ICYE “exchangees” into host families in the USA. ICYE was born.

Soon a reciprocal programme was established, with youth from the USA invited to spend a year with European families. More and more countries have joined the programme since then. Our programmes have been constantly revised and modified to reflect changes in society at a local, national and global level.

Today the ICYE Federation is an international, independent, non-profit organization with more than 40 National Committees and a significant presence across all continents. Its head office is in Berlin, Germany.

More insights into the development of ICYE can be found in the historical notes by Bill Perkins: An Incomplete Story – International Christian Youth Exchange – 1949-1972“.

How ICYE Works

ICYE is a Federation of Full and Associate Member National Committees.

National Committees: are autonomous bodies with national offices and local networks of volunteers. Each National Committee provides enriching ed learning experience with structured reflection and coaching opportunities. The programme, adapted to the needs of youth in each country, following the policies and guidelines prepared and adopted by the General Assembly of the Federation.

General Assembly: It is the highest decision-making body of the Federation. It meets every second year.

Board of Managers: It meets twice a year. It consists of four members who act and decide on behalf of the General Assembly in between General Assemblies.

International Office: It is located in Berlin, Germany. Carries out and co-ordinates activities and programmes as decided by the General Assembly.

Regions: ICYE Regional Associations provide support on programme development and training to National Committees in Africa, the Americas, Asia/Pacific and Europe.

Our Affiliations

The ICYE Federation is a participating member of the following international organisations:

  • UN-Economic and Social Council – ECOSOC (Consultative Status)
  • UNESCO (Consultative Status)
  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION, Directorate General Education and Culture
  • Coordinating Committee of International Voluntary Service (CCIVS)
  • UNITED for Intercultural Action
  • World Council of Churches