Giants in Friendship Promotion Join Forces for Art and Peace

By: Friendship Force International
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* Atlanta - Georgia - US

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ATLANTA - Dec. 17, 2013 - PRLog -- (Atlanta, GA, 12/18/13) - Proving that global friendship can make a positive contribution towards international understanding, Friendship Force International (FFI) ( and International Paint Pals (IPP) ( have today announced that they are formalizing their partnership with an agreement for FFI to acquire the IPP program.

In March of this year, FFI asked its international clubs to participate in a distinctive art project in collaboration with IPP.  This alliance resulted in 22 FFI clubs, along with other partners, answering the call to go into their communities and work with schoolchildren to generate more than 400 paintings and drawings representing "Peace and Friendship Through the Olympic Spirit" (  The exclusive exhibition has already previewed at FFI's biggest-ever annual world conference in New Orleans in November, and will open as part of the Russian Olympic Committee's prestigious `Cultural Olympics Program' ( on December 20 in the public exhibition hall of the Sochi Institute of Fashion, Business and Law ( It will move in January to the International Olympic Village for the 2014 Winter Games.

This effort, which brought these two global friendship organizations together for the first time, resonated with everyone involved and allowed both groups the chance to broaden their collective work with a like-minded partner.

"Working with Friendship Force International was a way for us at International Paint Pals to access countries and sources of young people's creative expression which we hadn't previously tapped," said Linden Longino, Founder of IPP. "The art we curated by working with FFI's vast international network of clubs was extraordinary, and we knew we had found a life-long collaborator."

"Our goal is to reach as many people as possible with our message of global friendship,"
said Joy DiBenedetto, FFI's President. "With our modern world often in strife and chaos, the FFI mission to connect the world across the barriers that separate people rings louder than ever before. Working with Linden and his IPP team was a way for us to share our 36-year legacy with the next generation who will inherit the planet."

What the two venerable groups realized was that their work together was more significant than any one project.  "Today, we're announcing a merger of sorts," said Longino. "Because we share the same vision for a better world, and in order to continue to grow our artistic work with young people we've been absorbed by Friendship Force International."

Added DiBenedetto, "We couldn't be more thrilled to have IPP as a member of the FFI family. We truly believe that the art these young people are creating speaks volumes of hope for the future world they want to see take shape. It's astonishing."   Linden Longino will stay on with FFI and serve as the organization's newly established Advisor for Youth Cultural Programs.

Asked about the team's next project, DiBenedetto and Longino declined to comment saying, "It's already in the works and will bring our global message of friendship and collaboration to every point on Earth."

ABOUT FFI:    FFI conducts more than 400 international home hospitality programs every year, in 60+ countries. Since 1977, when US President Jimmy Carter introduced the Friendship Force at a White House gathering, 1 million people have participated in the organizations unique exchange programs. FFI's work creates global cooperation at the personal level - beyond governments and borders - where people live, work, and play in everyday life; and FFI's efforts have been honored with a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 1992.  Read more at (../AppData/Local/AppData/Local/Temp/

ABOUT IPP: International Paint Pals (IPP) was formed in 1995 to provide a worldwide creative forum for young people to express their personal views on global issues and to share their similarities and differences through the universal language of art. More than 200,000 youth in 75countries on all 7 continents have participated.  Started by The Atlanta Project of The Carter Presidential Center by Linden Longino, the partner network has included associates of The Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum in London, The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  Exhibitions have been mounted for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, the Goodwill Games and the United Nations for which six major events for UN international conferences have been organized. In 2001, IPP received a “Global Tolerance Through the Arts Award” from  the UN for successfully promoting communication, understanding, and friendship. Read more at (../AppData/Local/AppData/Local/Temp/

For more information contact:

Jillian Walters, FFI Communications Coordinator, (../AppData/Local/AppData/AppData/Local/Downloads/, (770) 891-1004.

Friendship Force International, Joy DiBenedetto
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Tags:Friendship Force, Paint Pals, Merger, Travel, Social Good
Industry:Arts, Travel
Location:Atlanta - Georgia - United States
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