Who We Are
We are a global community of dedicated volunteers, creating opportunities for all ages to experience the excitement and enrichment of cultural diversity through our educational programs. We are founded on our belief that peace is possible through friendship - and that the real difference can be made by starting with children.
CISV is a charitable, independent, non-political, volunteer organization promoting peace education and cross-cultural friendship.
What We Do
CISV provides a range of unique, educational group activities, which develop cross-cultural understanding in children, youth and adults from around the world. By encouraging respect for cultural differences and the development of self-awareness, CISV empowers each participant to incorporate these values into their lives as they become global citizens and strive for a more peaceful world.
Our work focuses on the following key areas:
- We provide opportunities for individuals to learn by experience to live amicably with others irrespective of cultural background.
- We contribute through research to a science of international relations and non-violent conflict resolution.
- We cooperate with other organizations having similar purposes.
- We inspire people of all ages to strive for a more just and peaceful world.
"We must start with the children." ~ Dr. Doris Allen, founder
Following the devastation of World War II, many people were focusing on initiatives to build and maintain peace. One particular idea caught the attention of child psychologist, Dr. Doris Allen. It was a proposal for a UNESCO peace education institute for postgraduates from many disciplines. The idea for Children's International Summer Villages (today known as CISV International) was conceived by Dr. Allen in 1946. As a specialist in growth and development, Dr. Allen, could not agree that the focus for peace education should be in the field of adult learning. She firmly believed that the ultimate source for peace, long range, lay with the children.
From this conviction came her vision of bringing together children from all over the globe to learn to respect different and common values. In 1951, she realized her dream when delegates from eight countries gathered in Cincinnati, USA for the first Children's International Summer Village (CISV). Over the decades, the organization grew in numbers, countries and activities. In 1979, Doris Allen was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize - the recipient that year was Mother Teresa.
Over 50 years after the first Village, this program remains the cornerstone of our international educational activities. CISV's range of program has increased from one to six different types of international activities and from one village to around 180 international program a year.
Today CISV operates in over 60 countries and since 1951, more than 190,000 people have participated in more than 5000 international activities.
Where We Are
Since we were founded, many passionate CISV volunteers have established CISV National Associations and Chapters around the world. Today we have a presence in over 60 different countries worldwide. Find out where .
If you wish to take part in a CISV activity as a participant, volunteer or donate to CISV's work here in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter .