Friendship Force International to Receive Open World’s National Grantee of Merit Award at 2017 Annual Grantee Meeting

Friendship Force International to Receive Open World’s National Grantee of Merit Award at 2017 Annual Grantee Meeting

For Immediate Release

Contact: Yasmine Evans, Public Affairs Specialist at

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Open World Leadership Center announces that Friendship Force International (FFI) will receive the National Grantee of Merit Award at the 2017 Annual Grantee Meeting on Monday, January 23, 2017. The National Grantee of Merit Award is awarded to an organization who has demonstrated outstanding service to Open World.

FFI hosted its first Open World delegation in 1999. From 1999 to now, FFI has hosted 2,085 Open World delegates. In 2017, FFI will host 16 delegations from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Russia, Kosovo, Serbia, and Turkmenistan. Programmatic themes include: Legislative Development, Health Care, Education and Innovation, Media Practices, and Accountable Governance.

“Since Open World’s inception, Friendship Force International has been a dynamic player in building strong peer-to-peer professional programming for Open World’s delegates,” said Ambassador John O’Keefe, Executive Director of Open World Leadership Center. “They understand the issues facing our rising Eurasian leaders in their countries and how to craft a program that links them with their American colleagues to create strategies and solve problems.”

“We are living in times in which building bridges of understanding across the cultural barriers that separate people is more important than ever,” commented Mr. Jeremi Snook, President and CEO of Friendship Force International. “It is certainly an honor to be cited for our good works by Open World, and this award is very much appreciated by the entire FFI team. We feel genuinely privileged to be partnering with such a wonderful organization – one which shares our mission to help create a more peaceful world.”

FFI is also a 2017 grant recipient of Open World. To learn more about Open World’s 2017 grant recipients, please view here:


With more than 15,000 members in Friendship Force clubs in 66 countries worldwide, FFI provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Founded in 1977 by Wayne Smith with support from then-American President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Friendship Force has brought together more than 1 million average people in homestay and cultural immersion experiences that have helped to promote global understanding across the barriers that separate people.To learn more about how Friendship Force International can enrich your life, please visit