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About Us


Face the World (FTW) has promoted global learning and exchange by offering opportunities for international high school students to experience life in the United States. The goal of our cultural exchange program is to provide students, Host Families, schools, and communities with a quality experience that will not only enhance personal growth, but establish lasting friendships.

Who We Are

  • Founded in 1993.

  • Headquartered in Sonoma County (Petaluma, California)

  • Fully listed by CSIET (Council on Standards for International Educational Travel) and a member of the Alliance.

  • Designated by the Department of State as a J-1 Program Sponsor.

  • Works with a diverse group of International Partner Agencies.

A Message from our President

We welcome you on this exciting new journey that you will soon be taking. We hope it provides you with an experience full of learning and sharing that brings you all closer together and will remain with you forever.


-Mary Kass

Mary M. Kass is an international affairs expert and the Founder and CEO of Face the World Foundation and the Face the World Global Education Group. In 1993, Mary founded Face the World Foundation, a J-1 cultural exchange program for international high school students, Education One, an F-1 academic year program, and American Work Adventures, a J-1 seasonal work and travel program for international university students. Through the years, Mary’s passion for international exchange continues to grow and is still strongly dedicated to providing a cross-cultural experience for families and students alike.

Leaders in Cultural Exchange

At the forefront of global education and cultural exchange, we take pride in being the leaders of student exchange. With our unwavering commitment to creating transformative experiences for students around the world, we have set the standard for excellence in international education. Join us and discover how we can help you unlock a world of opportunities and shape your future like no other.


Staff Directory

Mary Kass

Founder and President

Marvin Pease

Placement and Development Director

Cell: 1-707-790-3536

Toll Free: 800-216-3223

Amber Bocanegra

Vice President

Office: 1-707-559-5800

Toll Free: 1-800-216-3223

Vanessa Gallagher

International Admissions and Marketing Director

Cell: 1-707-835-3810

Office: 1-707-559-5800

Toll Free: 800-216-3223

Leigh Ann

Regional Manager

Cell: 707-776-4336

Toll Free: 800-216-3223

Mike Kohl

VP of Finance, Administration, and Technology

Office: 1-707-559-5800

Toll Free: 1-800-216-3223

A special recognition for Vice President, Amber Bocanegra...

Join us in extending our heartfelt gratitude and admiration to our Vice President, Amber Bocanegra on her extraordinary dedication, talent, and leadership over the past decade at FTW and AWA. Your journey from a student services representative to a manager, and then to the Vice President overseeing not just one but two programs, is a testament to your relentless commitment and exceptional abilities.

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