How it all began

The founder of CIP was Dr. Henry B. Ollendorff (1907-1979), who obtained his PhD in Law and practiced as a labour lawyer in Germany. In 1938 he escaped Nazi Germany with his wife Martha to begin his new life in the United States. Not being able to practice in his profession in his new home land and with a special interest in youth he attended the New York School of Social Work earning a Masters degree and worked in a number of child and youth programs.

Dr. Ollendorff had a vision to create an international program where youth leaders and social workers from many countries could get together with the goal that the horrors of the Second World War would never happen again.

The aims of the first CIP program in 1956 in Cleveland, Ohio were: bridging and appreciating racial and religious differences; person to person respect and international understanding for peace.

In 1960, alumni of CIP, keen to share this spirit of fellowship, founded CIF. Since then more than 30 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, North and South America and Oceania have established National Branches. Most of them also run programs with similar aims to that first CIP.

The principle aims of C.I.F. are

  • To maintain relations, provide learning opportunities and the exchange of work and cultural experiences among its members, host families and anyone else actively involved in the individual Exchange Programs and/or other activities of the Organization.
  • To stimulate and/or facilitate participation in Exchange Programs, conferences, seminars, reunions, and all other activities organized by CIF.
  • To support recruitment and selection of new participants in CIF Exchange Programs, CIPUSA and International Study Program (AGJ) for those who are social workers and other professionals in closely related fields.
  • To facilitate communication among members by the publication of a newsletter or by other means.
  • To support and promote the establishment of new National Branches, when this is not possible to enhance the establishment of Contact Persons.
  • To introduce new generations to the spirit and objectives of the Organization, encouraging their participation and involvement in the activities of CIF.

CIF 50 years highlights

CIF International celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010 on August 27-29 in Hamburg, Germany, where CIF was founded in 1960 (PDF). See the Symposium book leaf (PDF). Pictures from the Symposium by Dieter Bettels.

Memories about the First CIP in Reverse Program (PDF), in Hamburg 1958.

A personal view by a German board member CIF International and the German “Zeitgeist” in the Fifties (PDF).


CIP 1960 German group ready onboard.

Learn about the history of CIF at Germany's website


Mrs. Martha Ollendorff







Ollendorff-Platz in Darmstadt, Germany was inaugurated on August 1st, 2005.