- Listen to Ron's Interview with Jackie Agdern and Jim Glasser -
Bringing the Force of Friendship to Places Across the World
At a time of sharp political and cultural divisions, many of us yearn for earlier days when we had a vision for peace and understanding across the world. Despite daunting obstacles, there are thousands of people who continue to pursue this vision—one small step at a time—even into their retirement years. In today’s episode, we talk with Jackie Agdern and Jim Glasser, members of Friendship Force International, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting understanding, cultural education and citizen diplomacy through homestay Journeys and personal friendships. Jackie and Jim, who are active members of the New York metro area chapter of Friendship Force, will explain how Friendship Force brings people together at the personal level through its signature program of home hospitality. In a typical program, a local club prepares an itinerary of cultural activities, inviting members from clubs in other states or countries to stay with them in their homes for up to a week. Jackie and Jim will describe some of their memorable journeys over the years, and what they learned about other cultures and lifestyles when given the opportunity to “ put your feet up on the kitchen table and get to know people.” Founded in 1977, Friendship Force now has 15,000 active members in 350 clubs worldwide. In today’s conversation, you’ll learn how to get involved with a Friendship Force club in your area, host international visitors in your home or join a cultural travel program formed around common interests such as gardening, hiking or wine. Through these personal encounters, strangers become friends, and we by experiencing different views, we can discover common ground.
Jackie Agdern has been an active member of Friendship Force International’s Long Island Chapter for 14 years, serving as president, treasurer and currently membership chair. She is a retired special education teacher and looks at the rest of her life as a great adventure, first and foremost as a proud mother, grandmother, and aunt. Jackie has numerous diverse interests and curiosities, including practicing Tai Chi, West African Drumming, traveling and learning about world cultures.
Jim Glasser is a life-long New Yorker, happily retired after a long career with the Social Security Administration in various managerial and administrative positions. He is widowed with a terrific daughter, son-in-law and young grandson. He loves to travel, get together with friends, take classes, enjoy music and art and culture and sports, read, learn, stay abreast of world affairs and imagine world peace. Jim discovered Friendship Force shortly after retiring and has been active in the organization ever since, meeting some terrific people and traveling to places far and near.
Keywords: travel, friendship, culture, exchange, hosting