What We Do

CISV educates and inspires action for a more just and peaceful world.

CISV was founded in the belief that peace is possible through building friendship and mutual understanding, starting with children.

We help our young participants develop to their full potential as future leaders and active citizens, to make a difference in their communities and the world. We also give them the opportunity to build global friendships and networks that will last them a lifetime.

Our innovative, fun, non-formal ‘learning by doing’ programmes begin with our original and unique Village programme for 11-year-olds. We offer an exciting blend of international camp-based, family exchange, and local community programmes.

CISV International is a global organization dedicated to educating and inspiring for peace through building inter-cultural friendship, cooperation, and understanding. Founded in 1950, today we are a federation of over 60 National Associations with over 200 Chapters or local groups.

Our mission

CISV educates and inspires action for a more just and peaceful world.

Our values

  • Friendship
  • Inclusiveness
  • Enthusiasm
  • Engagement
  • Cooperation

Participation in one of our programmes is often a powerful experience – and not just for your child! They will come home with stories to share and may even have changed a little and become more independent.

CISV will help to prepare you and your child for the experience of going to a programme, so you all know what to expect. Hearing first-hand from children and parents of children who have already participated is an important part of this process.

Inter-cultural experience is enriching for all of your family. If your child is going to be part of an Interchange exchange, your family will all get to take part in the experience as part of the two-way exchange. You may also get the opportunity to host children coming from another country to take part in a camp-based programme near you.

CISV is all about friendship and fun and not just for children and young people. Many of our Chapters hold regular social events and activities that whole family can join in with.

The CISV experience stays with you for life. The volunteers that run and support our Chapters and programmes are nearly all parents of children who participated at some time or other.

CISV is a global, volunteer-led organization committed to working for a more just and peaceful world. We do this through building friendship and a commitment to local and global community service in our participants.

Every year, our dedicated and passionate volunteers of all ages give their expertise, skills, life experience, energy, and time to run our Chapters, programmes, and Junior Branches. Our volunteers are also involved at every level of CISV International, offering leadership and support to our network of volunteers worldwide.

Whether you’re 16 or 60, you can offer an hour or two every month or give a more regular commitment. There are many exciting and flexible ways for you to get involved with CISV.

Our activities and programmes simply could not happen without our thousands of committed volunteers around the world.

Are you and your family taking part in a CISV programme? Look in Resources for all the forms, documents, and information you need.

Goals

Although CISV is a fun and an exciting experience, there is a lot more to it than just that. Our multicultural programs are based on sound educational principles and objectives.

Our educational purpose is to prepare individuals to become active and contributing members of a peaceful society. We aim to stimulate the life-long development of amicable relationships, effective communication skills, cooperative abilities, and appropriate leadership towards a just and fair world.

In Michigan, CISV Detroit also aims to enhance our local community by helping more area residents develop global perspective — and by introducing more future leaders from around the world to Detroit.

Learning by doing

Conventional education focuses on knowledge and sometimes on skills. However, at CISV we believe that the most effective learning takes place when we have engaging first-hand experiences.

As a result, our educational approach uses experiential methods to develop intercultural competence. This requires a focus on:

  • Developing awareness
  • Fostering positive attitudes
  • Increasing skills
  • Acquiring knowledge

Peace education 

Peace education provides us with the attitudes, skills and knowledge to become agents of change, locally and globally. Though peace education, CISV seeks to educate and inspire our participants to become ‘active global citizens’ working towards a more just and peaceful world.

Peace education looks at local and global issues that are relevant to us all, recognizing that peace can mean much more than the absence of war. In CISV we have four peace education content areas, which are explored in our programs. Our peace education is delivered in a way that is both age-appropriate and experiential. The content areas are:

Diversity

Explores the identity of the individual and asks us to consider ourselves within our own and the wider community.

Human Rights

Considers how human rights affect every aspect of our lives and how violations can lie at the root of problems such as poverty, violence and lawlessness.

Conflict and Resolution

Helps us to understand how conflicts can arise deliberately or otherwise and what can be done to help bring a peaceful resolution.

Sustainable Development

Looks for integrated ways to promote economic and social well-being, while protecting the environment through the responsible use of natural resources.

Read more about our peace education content areas in Passport, a handy summary of our approach to peace education. For a more in-depth look at CISV’s educational approach, download our 76-page educational manual, Big Ed.

Building global friendship 

Having the opportunity to make friends with people from different backgrounds and life experience plays a vital role within peace education. This is because it encourages us to examine our own attitudes and values, which in turn helps to broaden our perspective of the world. It also helps to raise our self-awareness and our awareness of others.

CISV believes that fostering friendship between people of different nationality, gender, age, race, culture, and class is a key building-block for peace. CISVers worldwide build friendships to learn from each other and take positive steps towards more peaceful and just communities.

Research based

A founding object of CISV International is to contribute, through research, to a science of international relations. For CISV’s founder, Dr. Doris T. Allen, research was an integral part of CISV from the beginning. The first CISV program, now called Village, built on her knowledge as a developmental psychologist, and aimed at reducing children’s cultural stereotypes before they would harden.

For example, one line of CISV-related research suggests that we should trust more in children’s abilities to actively and autonomously contribute to and participate in adult as well as children’s worlds. The main idea emerging here is that children are agents who can actively participate not only in their everyday relations with peers and adults, but also in the construction of society. This concept is explored in a book — based in part on CISV research — called Participation, Facilitation, and Mediation: Children and Young People in Their Social Contexts. It is available from Routledge publishers here.

Come and join us!

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