What is Operation Friendship ?

Operation Friendship is a volunteer organisation which promotes friendship and understanding between youths around the world by means of exchange programs between Europe and the USA. This is achieved by introducing youths to social, educational, corporate, historical, religious and secular heritage of each member country.


Operation Friendship evolved out of an idea first proposed in 1964 by American reverend, Wallace A. Shaw minister at St. Margaret’s Church in Glenrothes, Scotland and . It was his desire to develop an exchange for youths enabling those of one country to learn the different cultures of other countries and develop friendships around the world. That fall, a certain Mrs. David Anderson, brought the invitation to participate to the United States, sharing it with her pastor, Rev. Robert L. Blackwell of the First Presbyterian Church in Kearny, New Jersey. This invitation was soon extended to the Second Congregational Church in Palmer, Massachusetts through its pastor Rev. Guthrie R. Swartz. Operation Friendship’s inaugural exchange occurred in 1965, when three youth traveled from Scotland to the United States. The following year, youth from New Jersey and Massachusetts traveled to Scotland, with Sweden joining the organization the same year. England and Ireland later joined in 1970, followed by Wales and the Netherlands in 1974. In the spring of 1974, the first International Meeting was held in Scotland with delegates from each participating country. The following August, the first International Constitution was drafted in Ireland, formalizing Operation Friendship International as an organization. We are proud to say that through the work of our families through the years, Operation Friendship continues to be a vibrant organization providing enriching experiences to its participants!


The purpose of Operation Friendship is to foster the international attitude, the tolerance of the culture and the understanding of nations. This purpose is achieved by bringing together young people from different countries to create international friendship and understanding. Connection between youths is nurtured by introducing them to social, educational, corporate, historical, religious, and secular heritage of each member country.

OF Today

Operation Friendship in numbers: 10 cities – 7 countries – 2 continents … 56 years of existence OF has connected several hundred teenagers! In order to maintain these friendships over the years there can exist subsequential programmes for adults or other types of exchange programs.

Operation Friendship France

10 rue Maurice Ténine

94260 Fresnes - France

Email: contact@operationfriendship.fr

Registered Association loi 1901 n°.

RNA W93005041 - Siret 838 945 673 00013 - APE 9499Z