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The American Field Service Fellowships for French Universities

The American Field Service (AFS) Fellowships for French Universities was a scholarship program established in December 1919. The Fellowship program funded students on the graduate level to travel to and from France for advanced study, and were awarded each year to qualified candidates selected from American and French colleges and universities.

The AFS Fellowships for French Universities program began in part with AFS funds left over from the war in conjunction with other funds raised by AFS, such as the Roswell Sanders Endowment Fund. For AFS founder A. Piatt Andrew, the fundamental purpose of the program was to continue peaceful ties between the United States and France after the war. Following incorporation in 1921, the goal was to endow 127 fellowships per year, each one to be named in honor of every AFS member who died during the war. However, the funds necessary to endow the 127 fellowships every year were scarce until French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau initiated a formal campaign in 1922. The promotion of AFS through Clemenceau's campaign sparked a relationship between AFS and the Institute of International Education (IIE), and after 1924, the administration of the AFS Fellowships for French Universities program was delegated to the IIE in New York City. Although never reaching their initial goal of endowing 127 fellowships per year, the program continued to send students abroad under the IIE. Initially only sending only American students to France, by 1939 a total of 168 fellowships were awarded to both American and French students for studies in both countries.

When World War II broke out in August 1939, Director General Stephen Galatti reactivated the AFS volunteer ambulance service and discontinued the fellowships for the duration of the war. Following World War II in 1946, Galatti and former ambulance drivers assembled to decide the future of AFS and the Fellowship program. Galatti believed that the international peacetime efforts could continue through cross-cultural educational exchanges as it did under the Fellowship program. With that, the AFS drivers voted to reactivate the fellowships, but on a larger scale. Thus, in 1947, Galatti founded the American Field Service International Scholarships (AFSIS) known today as AFS Intercultural Programs. The success of the International Scholarships program prompted the organization to reallocate its annual funds, and in 1952 the AFS Fellowships for French Universities program was discontinued.

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