What is our Mission?
The mission of Servas is to promote peace-building and social justice in order to facilitate the cross-cultural understanding necessary for the diverse populations of our planet to successfully grow and thrive in harmony with one another.
For 70 years, Servas has been committed to peacebuilding across the globe. Each member of Servas is vital to our success. Our board members define the vision for Servas. Our travelers and hosts are the foundation of our outreach efforts. Our office members coordinate the projects into a cohesive message. Together we function as a united organization deeply engaged in furthering cultural understanding, promoting equality and fighting for social and justice.
United States Servas, Inc. is a non-profit, non-governmental, interracial, and interfaith organization. US Servas is a branch of Servas International, the global coordinating body, incorporated in Switzerland. US Servas is a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization accredited by the United Nations Department of Public Information.
How does it work?
Servas members recognize the importance of personal relationships and the inherent worth of all people as well as the value of cultural differences. By fostering open person-to-person experiences between travelers and hosts, artificial barriers can be removed, lasting friendships can develop and social responsibility is encouraged. Servas is a way to unite those who believe that peace is possible, once these differences are explored on a personal level. Members accomplish these goals by opening their homes and hearts—welcoming approved Servas visitors for short homestays in the cause of peace.
Members of the Servas family cover the diverse spectrum of people around the world. Visitors are invited to share in the home life and community of their hosts, to share their concerns on social and international problems, and to learn about one another’s interests and pursuits, all in the context of mutual respect. Servas is a special way of seeing the world: as a place where there are no strangers—only friends you have yet to meet.
How can joining Servas spread peace?
Servas members seek viable non-violent solutions for resolving conflicts on every scale, from the international arena to our own homes and communities. Servas visits can play a vital role in bringing harmony to a troubled world by helping people explore different cultural perspectives and ways of life. In the context of the ancient guest-host relationship, our members invite outsiders to share in their daily lives during brief homestay visits. It is on this person-to-person level that Servas seeks to foster change. Hospitality and cultural education are our weapons against the spread of misconceptions and intolerance, which often leads to mistrust, antagonism and war. Friendship, understanding, empathy and tolerance are the building blocks of peace.
What is the history of Servas?
The seeds of the Servas organization were sown in 1948 by the American conscientious war objector, Bob Luitweiler, along with a small group of pacifists representing several peace organizations in Birmingham, England. While a student at one of Denmark’s well known folk schools (Askov Hojskole), Bob studied cooperative communities and alternative methods for settling disputes. The founders were deeply committed to social justice and the prevention of another tragic World War II holocaust. They believed it was possible to build stronger foundations for world peace by helping concerned people meet and learn from one another.