Robert L Tesdell 1919-2001


Robert Tesdell was a pioneer in the field of international educational exchange. He was driven by his vision to build international peace and understanding through friendships and non-formal educational initiatives. An ordained minister, he first applied his background in the ecumenical and interfaith movements to develop youth work camps in the United States and Asia. In 1953, distressed by the Cold War rhetoric that polarized the world, Bob created the International Counselor Exchange Program (ICEP) to allow young people to learn about one another and gain greater human understanding in the context of American summer camps.

In nearly fifty years, the ICEP has facilitated the intercultural exchange of thousands of young people from Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Asia as counselors at summer camps throughout the United States. This opportunity has allowed for the interaction of international students and American youth and children, which nurtures friendships across cultures and creates a forum for the sharing of traditions and ideas from around the world.

Bob Tesdell's idea for the ICEP was based in his fundamental belief that if young people have the opportunity to interact with their peers from other cultures, they gain an increased understanding of people from diverse cultural and political backgrounds, and carry that understanding with them throughout their lives. This philosophy remains relevant as we are challenged to nurture greater understanding between the United States and peoples from countries across the world, and Bob was especially committed to facilitating the participation of African youth as international counselors.



To continue Bob's vision and efforts, the Robert Tesdell Scholarship Fund will support the participation of qualified African students in the ICEP by covering the costs of travel from Africa to the United States.

The Robert Tesdell Scholarship Fund is an initiative of the Association for World Travel Exchange, Inc. to honor the legacy of its founder, Robert L. Tesdell and support the participation of African students in the International Counselor Exchange Program.

To make a contribution to the Robert Tesdell Scholarship Fund, please send your check, payable to ICEP, along with your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address to:

Director, ICEP
ATTN: Robert Tesdell Scholarship Fund
38 West 88th Street
New York, NY 10024
USA

Phone:
212-787-7706
Fax:
212-580-9283



If you would like to place a tribute here, please contact the ICEP Office.



Robert Tesdell, the founder of the AWTE and its Executive Director for more than 40 years, passed away on August 13, 2001, at the age of 82. Bob is survived by his wife, Evelyn, son Kerwin, and grandson William. Bob was born in 1919 in Iowa, where he began his lifelong commitment to both religious and educational service. Bob was a pioneer in the field of international educational exchanges, and built the International Student Center and ICEP upon his vision that through these exchanges, the friendships nurtured would help young people reach greater international understanding. An ordained minister, he first applied his background in the ecumenical and interfaith movements to develop youth work camps in the United States and Asia. In 1953, distressed by the Cold War rhetoric that polarized the world, Bob created the International Counselor Exchange Program (ICEP) to allow young people to learn about one another and gain greater human understanding in the context of American summer camps.

 


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