What is CISV?


 CISV – The Whole Story ………….. or at least an introduction

Children’s International Summer Villages is a non-profit, non-political, independent, volunteer organization that offers children and adults the opportunity to travel and make new friendships worldwide while learning to understand and appreciate different cultures.

The philosophy of CISV can be summarized as a commitment to know countries through close friends rather than as abstract places on a map and to accept others without prejudice or stereotypes.

Every summer, CISV brings together children and young adults from all over the world to foster international understanding and friendships in the hope of achieving peaceful solutions to worldwide problems.

CISV is accredited by  (CSIET) The Council on Standards for International Educational Travel – a nonprofit organization committed to quality international educational travel and exchange. Visit them on the web at: www.csiet.org

CISV  is a 501(c)(3) tax deductible, nonprofit organization, and we qualify to receive United way funds.  You have to write us in the “other” section at the bottom of the United Way form. Use the following address:

CISV Springfield
PO Box 1106
East Longmeadow, MA 01028

12 PRINCIPLES of CISV from Dr. Doris Allen, Founder of CISV. (click to view)

Click here to read about our Founder Doris Allen and why she started CISV in 1951!

Children’s International Summer Villages was founded in 1950 by Dr. Doris Allen as an independent, non-political volunteer organization promoting peace education and cross-cultural friendship. CISV has grown from a conviction that peace is possible if individuals and groups can learn to live together as friends.

Affiliated with UNESCO as a Non Government Organization, CISV has established its credentials globally as a reputable youth exchange organization, through which, since 1951, over 104,679 delegates from 93 countries have participated in more than 3,112 official international program activities

What is CISV’s purpose?

CISV endeavors to stimulate the development of intercultural respect, international understanding and cooperative skills within individuals to prepare them for effective leadership roles in creating a peaceful society.

How does CISV work?

CISV operates primarily through education, offering young people who exhibit cooperative skills, communication ability and leadership potential the chance to become fully involved in CISV peace education programs. CISV programs are based on the premise that there is hope for the future and that actions of individuals can and do have significance in community, national and international affairs. Emphasizing friendship, CISV educates through action, stressing co-operation rather than competition in activities based upon organizational goals of inspirational and educational value. CISV experiences form an important component in developing a global perspective and philosophy in life and desire to work for peace.

Who participates in CISV?

CISV’s International work is accomplished via a network of local, national and international members of all ages who serve as volunteers in conjunction with the staff members at the International Office. CISV programs and activities are offered to qualified participants irrespective of sex, race or social / economic background.

The programs are:

Summer Villages

A village is a unique four-week multi-lingual camp for 12 delegations of four 11-year-olds and an adult. Each chapter hosting a Village pays the accommodation and program expenses of the visiting delegations. Delegates take part in a mix of sport, educational and cultural activities


An Interchange is a family-oriented group exchange between reciprocal pairs of CISV Chapters in different countries. A delegation of some ten teenagers (age 12-16) and an adult spends one phase of the program hosting counterparts from the matched country and the second phase as family guests of the same partners. Interchanges generally take place over summer vacation. Families receive no fees for hosting.

Step Up Camp

Aimed at young teens, the Summer Camp encourages participants to take responsibility for leadership and programme planning. Each camp focuses on a specific educational theme. Participants work together to plan activities and discussions which build on the chosen theme.

Seminar Camp

A Seminar Camp is a three-week multi-national camp for youth aged 17-18. The program centers on activities which help participants discover and formulate their own opinions by exposing them to the ideas of young people from other cultures.