Friendship Force members and clubs around the world are doing spectacular work all the time!

Look here for news, stories and information on upcoming FFI events worldwide.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Presenting the 2019-2021 Strategic Plan

The 2019-2021 Strategic Plan outlines the important focus of the International Board of Directors, FFI Headquarters, and our 350+ clubs and 15,000+ members worldwide.


Click here to view a full-screen version.


Click here for a downloadable PDF version for printing.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

FFI Welcomes New Staff and Board Members in 2019

The beginning of a new year brought fresh new faces to both Friendship Force Headquarters and the International Board of Directors, with the addition of Regional Support Managers Britton Holmes and Carolina Moore, and new Board Members Christiane Beaupré, Chuck Goldfarb, and Marilyn Peterson.

Taking over FFI’s work with the Open World Leadership Center Program, Britton Holmes is a new Regional Support Manager on FFI staff. Hailing from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, she focused on International Studies, Political Science, and Spanish at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Britton also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua as an environmental education primary school teacher, and she has traveled a lot throughout Latin America.

“I am so excited to join FFI’s global network of people who share the mission of building mutual respect and cultural understanding through travel and friendship,” she said.  Britton will focus on supporting the work of U.S. clubs as they plan and host Open World delegations.

FFI Headquarters also welcomes Carolina Moore as the new Regional Support Manager for Latin America, responsible for Spanish-speaking Latin American countries as Laura Romero continues her work as Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation. Carolina is originally from Santiago, Chile, but lived for the past 8 years with her family in Melbourne, Australia, where her husband is from. She and her family moved to the Atlanta, Georgia area just last year.

Carolina has a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management, and her work experience has been mostly in the tourism industry and marketing. She also speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and she has traveled extensively through North and South America, the Caribbean, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. “Everyone at Friendship Force has been very friendly and supportive,” said Carolina. “I feel very lucky and committed to be part of this family now.”

Additionally, the Friendship Force International Board of Directors introduces new appointees each year as other members step down. The Board welcomes Christiane Beaupré from Montreal, Canada; Chuck Goldfarb from Washington, DC, USA; and Marilyn Peterson from Albany, Oregon, USA as they begin their terms in 2019.

Please visit the Board of Directors page and take a moment or two to read the biographies of these enthusiastic members – and the other nine Board of Directors members as well.

Welcome to Friendship Force, everyone!

Featured Journey of the Quarter: The 2019 African Regional Conference, Hosted by FF Cairo, Egypt

Our Featured Journey of the Quarter is January’s African Regional Conference hosted by FF Cairo, Egypt. About 40 delegates from six clubs total attended the Conference, with members from Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Ghana, along with a significant contingent of members from the host club of FF Cairo.

In attendance from FFI Headquarters was Director of Operations Debbie Powell, who opened the Conference’s first full day of meetings and workshops with “Friendship Force 101.” This session included basic background on the organization, history, philosophy, expectations of members and clubs, what FFI can do for you, how to train hosts, recruiting new members and hosts from the community, how the matching process works, a network overview with updates from HQ and around the world etc. President and CEO Jeremi Snook joined via video conference talk about the Strategic Plan with delegates.

“It was a pleasure to spend three days with such an enthusiastic group of club leaders and members,” said Debbie. “Many were learning about Friendship Force for the first time and taking their newfound knowledge back home to build a stronger Friendship Force presence in their communities.

The next day started with a thrilling cultural excursion to see the famed Pyramids and Sphinx. Afterwards, the group received a private tour of underground tombs by a local archaeologist who was a friend of FF Cairo Club President, Hanaa Rashad. Workshops continued that afternoon, with members looking at challenges for African clubs and how they could solve or reduce them. Delegates also learned about materials and resources available from FFI, and then split into national delegations to discuss more specific local issues. FFI Regional Support Manager for Africa, Valerie Malfara, joined the Conference virtually that day to greet everyone.

The delegates came to the conclusion that more inter-African communication and collaboration was needed to help the members feel more connected, to share ideas, and to build on the camaraderie that had developed over the three days. “It was great to see how innovative the delegates were, suggesting an African Whatsapp discussion group and committing to sending more news stories and photos to FFI in order to improve their visibility. These first steps will go a long way towards creating a stronger Friendship Force in Africa,” explained Debbie.

This FFI African Regional Conference “…was successful and highly educational,” according to Terry Gichuiya, President of FF Nairobi, Kenya, and delegates left feeling inspired and energized.

FF Cairo President Hanaa Rashad agreed, saying “It was a good opportunity to meet African members and be close to them and listen to their challenges and their problems and know more about their countries and their culture.” Hedayet Kamal, a member of FF Cairo for almost thirty years, felt it was a good experience overall for her, saying “It was very interesting to meet members of the Friendship Force clubs in Africa and [see] how enthusiastic they are to establish strong clubs in their countries and to resolve the problems they face.”

Debbie concluded, “I really want to extend thanks, on behalf of the whole group, to Hanaa Rashad, Club President of FF Cairo for making all the arrangements and for her warm hospitality.” Thank you also to all of the African delegates and members of host club FF Cairo for making our organization stronger on your continent!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Featured Club of the Quarter: FF Sacramento Blazes Trail for FFI Photography Club Clusters

By: Rozlynn Worrall, Volunteer Coordinator, FFI Photography Club Clusters, Member of FF Sacramento, California, USA

Editor’s Note: FFI Photography Club Cluster Volunteer Coordinator Rozlynn Worrall, wrote the following article to highlight the successes and fun her club has had with their vibrant Photography Club Cluster, “The Shutterbugs.” This initiative allows FF members interested in photography to learn and practice skills with each other in their own club and through a wider Friendship Force network. Read below to find out what this group does and how your club can form one and learn more about photography too!

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” –Lao Tzu

Sacramento Shutterbugs photo shooting on a nature safari

The FF Sacramento Photography Club Cluster Shutterbugs have been the trailblazers for the FFI Photography Club Cluster initiative in 2018, meeting on a regular basis since last year to collaboratively teach one another about the elements of composition, genre, taking photographs, and uploading photos to their club cluster’s FF Sacramento Shutterbugs/Shutterfly Share Site.  

Leading a new program has been an adventure, and no adventure comes about without some twists, turns, and hills to climb. The biggest challenge for any innovative group is to find a way that breaks a new trail alongside the tried and true. It first, takes commitment to the FFI mission and the goal to spread the word and share the images of Friendship Force. Here are some details on how FF Sacramento has developed a successful Photography Club Cluster!

Communications: One of the FFI Sacramento Shutterbugs advantages is access to our club’s website powered by Wild Apricot that has an Upcoming Event Registration page with automatic reminders to members. This has been extremely helpful to leaders to plan for setup and to members who wish to carpool to a meeting. The registration page lists attendees, thereby assisting those interested in carpooling to the meeting.

FF Sacramento also produces a monthly digital newsletter that usually includes an article on the Photo Cluster’s activities, shares their photography, and encourages and welcomes new members throughout the year. Through their attendance and participation in Photo Cluster meetings, Regional Field Representatives, club president, club vice president, and activities director have all communicated their enthusiasm and support of the FFIPhotoCC initiative.

Meeting the Needs of Members: FF Sacramento Shutterbugs now have 8 – 15 active members, with wide ranging photography and editing skill levels from beginners to advanced.  Two-thirds of the cluster use a phone or tablet as their primary camera, one-third use small automatic preset cameras or Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras.  

Leading meetings in 2018 rotated between four cluster leaders. Each leader utilized the Monthly Focus and Quarterly Challenge to frame the content of the meetings drew on the resources provided from the FFIPhotoCC Share Site or created their own agenda.  

While it has been a challenge to find a location suitable for most and with proper projection equipment to share photos with one another, we have found a local pizza restaurant that fits the bill – complete with good food and two large HDTVs to display videos and photos.

To accommodate member requests, the FF Sacramento Photography Cluster will be integrating more flexibility into meetings dates with more photo shoots and meshing times with regular activities and general meeting days. This year, the Shutterbugs are also trying out online meetings in addition to in-person meetings to allow for more remote participation and facilitate meetings of special interest groups within the Club Cluster.

FF Clubs interested in forming a photography cluster are invited to contact the FF Sacramento Shutterbugs at [email protected] and to check out their FF Sacramento Shutterbugs Share Site which is patterned after the FFIPhotoCC Site. Members are having fun, attracting  new members into the cluster, and producing some wonderful photographs.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

What is Friendship Force? – Animated Video (Russian)

Learn how Friendship Force works and the ways you can participate, both at home and far away!

Was ist Friendship Force? – Animiertes Video (Deutsch)

Erfahre, wie Friendship Force funktioniert und wie du teilnehmen kannst, sowohl zu Hause als auch in der Ferne!

What is Friendship Force? – Animated Video (Japanese)

Learn how Friendship Force works and the ways you can participate, both at home and far away!

Qu’est-ce que la Friendship Force ? – Animation Vidéo (Français)

Découvrez comment fonctionne Friendship Force et comment vous pouvez participer, chez vous et à l’étranger!

O que é a Friendship Force? Animação (Português)

Saiba como funciona a Friendship Force e como você pode participar, tanto em casa quanto longe!

Que es Friendship Force? Vídeo animado (Español)

Aprende como friendship force funciona y como puedes ser parte, de ambas formas, desde casa y desde lejos!