Dear Friends of InterExchange,
I’m excited to begin celebrating with all of you our 50th Anniversary! This year will be an excellent 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. Paul, a first-generation Swedish-American, had ventured from his home state of Connecticut to join the Navy before entering the international exchange field.
Their international travel experiences profoundly changed both Uta and Paul. They became utterly 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.
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, our fantastic staff, our alumni, hosts, and partners, and the many lives and communities we 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.
Christine La Monica-Lunn President and CEO