A.C.E. is celebrating its 35th anniversary this September and will continue marking the occasion for the following year. A.C.E. was founded in 1973 after a group of community leaders in Seattle lead by Burton Bard had spent many months meeting to plan the development of an organization which would help promote global understanding through educational programs and language services. In the original vision, A.C.E. (established as the American Cultural Exchange) would conduct study tours and offer language services for visiting international students and professional trainees, teach world languages to local people interested in the broader world, and would offer related cross cultural programs and services as opportunities arose. Over these 35 years A.C.E. has served well over 120,000 clients of all ages and from over 50 countries. A.C.E. has set up and operated intensive English language institutes on over a dozen college and university campuses included sites in Japan, Australia, and Korea, and has conducted training in a wide range of technical subjects for international visitors as well as conducting projects in Russia, Chile, and UAE. In recent years A.C.E. has launched a series of development initiatives for various underserved communities, and remains committed especially to helping underserved children in the northwest region to gain skills they need to have opportunities in a global society.
The 35th anniversary was first announced at a luncheon held in Washington, DC, during the 60th annual convention of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. 100 guests attended this luncheon hosted jointly by A.C.E. in partnership with Japan Study Abroad Foundation and the UAE Academy. The event was highlighted with inspiring remarks on the state of international educational exchange by guest speaker Ms. Miriam Assefa, Executive Director of World Education Services and past President of NAFSA, as well as representatives of each of the partner organizations, Mr. Shinji Moriyama and Mr. Todd Leyland. President Woodward MC’d the event thanking all for their leadership in promoting goodwill and understanding through education, and announced that a follow on luncheon will be held during A.C.E.’s 35th anniversary at the NAFSA convention in Los Angeles in late May 2009. Many VIPs were in attendance including representatives of embassies in Washington, DC, NAFSA delegates from overseas, and the new Director of the U.S. Commercial Service, Ms. Ann Grey. Also A.C.E. Board of Directors member Mr. Chuck Nelson, and A.C.E. International Advisory Council members Dr. Norman Peterson, Mr. Ahad Shahbaz, Ms.Bonnie Barhyte, Mr. Colin Davies, Sandy Soohoo Refaei and the aforementioned Ms. Assefa and Mr. Moriyama were in attendance.
A variety of events will be held during the coming year including a celebratory gathering in Seattle in Spring 2009. Watch for announcements of coming events.