About PAX

What We Believe—Our Vision for a Global Community

PAX Laurasian Exchange envisions a global community of people who are open minded and appreciate cultural differences, because we believe such a community is a fertile field for justice, peace, and prosperity. We aspire to be the quality leader in academic exchange and experiential learning because we believe such experiences transform the individual’s ability to influence our world for the better.

Mission—How We Fulfill our Vision and Who We Serve

PAX Laurasian Exchange provides global education and exchange opportunities for students, host families, schools, and communities to open doors, embrace cultures, and become family.

PAX Laurasian Exchange Board of Directors

Rob Fenstermacher // Rodney Gould, Esq. // W. Edward Massey // Michael McKenna // Kevin McQuade // Scott Meadows // Jane Spalding // Walter Stewart // Tom Whitehouse

International group of PAX exchange students on a sightseeing tour in Central Park during arrival orientation

Small Roots, Big Dream

Thirty years ago, PAX was founded as a small force for good. The organization's first headquarters was in a private home. The dream was to enable both deserving young people from around the world and their U.S. host families to share not only their customs, language, and points of view, but also the very essence of what it means to be family. During the first years, the program brought a small number of Spanish high school students to the U.S., working one-on-one to ensure a powerful, cross-cultural learning experience.

Same Dream, Greater Impact

PAX now serves 1,000 participants from more than 70 countries using those same values. Along the way, the organization moved into the loft of an historic 1880s renovated warehouse alongside the Byram River in Port Chester, New York, maintains an enthusiastic office staff of 30, and enjoys a network of more than 300 committed volunteers and 600 welcoming high schools throughout the U.S. To date, more than 20,000 students have successfully completed the PAX program.

PAX's First U.S. Department of State Sponsored Program

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, America reached out to the Newly Independent States in the form of the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program, which promotes mutual understanding by providing high school students from Eurasia with the opportunity to live with American host families and attend U.S. high schools. For 20 years, PAX has had the honor of being selected each year by the U.S. Department of State to serve as a sponsor of FLEX students.

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program

When Congress, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, established the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, PAX was one of the few organizations chosen to work with these scholarship students from countries with significant Muslim populations—and has ever since. From Indonesia to Pakistan, Nigeria to Suriname, host families and high schools alike are quick to note the impressiveness of these young people in particular.


In addition to PAX's designation as an Exchange Visitor Program (since 1993) with the U.S. Department of State, the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) once again granted the organization full listing in the 2020/21 Advisory List. The CSIET mark certifies that PAX complies with its standards for international educational travel programs. Beyond that, PAX prides itself on rigorous internal standards to ensure the quality of the program for students, families, schools, and communities.

A Global PAX Family

PAX students are selected by partner educational organizations around the world and in the case of non-scholarship students, subsequently apply to the PAX program. Many of PAX's relationships with partner organizations are nearly as old as PAX itself. These organizations have become trusted friends as have countless others (alumni, former host families, local representatives, school officials, and many more) within a large and diverse PAX community, which continues to open doors, embrace cultures, and become family.