The mid-April gathering of Interchange coordinators in Graz came just a few days after CISV International’s Governing Board released recommendations based on a year-long Programme Review process. The Governing Board is asking CISV’s National Associations to vote on phasing out of Interchange over the next five years. The Governing Board cites a range of concerns about Interchange, especially risks associated with sending youth into people’s homes. This home-stay practice also is a key element of many CISV camps, and it is central to Interchange.
Interchange has a long hixtory in CISV. It was the second program established by the organization’s founder Doris Allen in 1961.
In 2018, CISV Interchange participants included approximately 1165 delegates, 200 leaders and 3500 family members. In the same year, nearly half of all programs hosted by CISV chapters were Interchanges – by far dwarfing the hosting of other CISV programs.
Collectively, the Interchange coordinators gathered in Graz say Interchange is an engine for growing new chapters and strengthening existing ones; a motivator for volunteers; and a unique program that’s differentiated from non-CISV exchange programs by its reliance on truly reciprocal hospitality and communication across two cultures. Other exchange programs offered by CISV competitors are one-country programs focused on language learning or humanitarian service.