Dear Friends of InterExchange,
I’m excited to begin celebrating with all of you our 50th Anniversary! This year will be a wonderful opportunity to remember our beloved Founders, Uta and Paul Christianson, celebrate their vision, and remind ourselves of the importance of international cultural exchange programs.
More than 50 years ago, Uta and Paul met in New York City. Uta had come to the U.S. from her native Germany to run the flight department of a student travel association. And Paul, a first generation Swedish-American, had ventured from his home state of Connecticut to join the Navy before finding his way into the international exchange field.
Both Uta and Paul were profoundly changed by their international travel experiences. They became completely convinced, as Uta put it, that an experience living and working abroad should be part of everyone’s personal education. This conviction became their professional mantra, and InterExchange was born.
Check out a timeline of the development of our programs over the years.
When I joined InterExchange in the autumn of 1992, we were a team of four, serving several hundred young people each year. Over the years, we’ve added additional programs, grown into a staff of 120 and, over our 50 years, served more than 300,000 participants from more than 100 countries, and engaged over 50,000 U.S. host businesses, camps, and families.
I’m proud of this growth, of our fantastic staff, of our alumni, hosts, and partners, and of the many lives and communities we are able to touch through our work together.
I’m also proud to continue the legacy of Uta and Paul. In 2015, we inscribed our new Wall Street office in their memory:
This office is dedicated in grateful recognition of our founders, Uta and Paul Christianson, who believed that international cultural exchange builds lifelong connections and friendships, and supports a more peaceful, prosperous, and enlightened world.
We are proud to serve their vision.
We are reminded every day of their passion and our shared mission of helping young people find their adventures abroad, and make a difference in the world. Please visit our 50th Anniversary page, which we’ll be adding to throughout the year. And please continue to join us, in whatever ways you can, in forwarding Uta and Paul’s vision of making the world a smaller, more understanding, and ultimately better place.
Christine La Monica-Lunn President and CEO