About us

Who are we?

Servas Australia Inc. is an incorporated Association (ABN: 17320213853, Vic. Reg.: A0052072C) and is affiliated with Servas International, a non-profit, worldwide, cooperative, cultural exchange network bringing people together to build understanding, tolerance, mutual respect, and world peace. It promotes world peace by encouraging individual person-to-person contacts.

GlobeFounded in 1949 by a young American Bob Luitweiler as a peace movement, who, with his friends and fellow-students, set up a network of people at the grass-roots level. They had in common a desire for world peace, built on a better understanding and tolerance between peoples.

Besides being non-profit, Servas is an international, non-political, non-religious, inter-ethnic co-operative system of hosts and travellers. It was established to help build world peace, goodwill and understanding by promoting opportunities for deeper, personal contacts among people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. Visitors are invited to experience and share the home and community life their hosts, share their social and international concerns and interests, and become more aware of our mutual responsibility to make a better world.

Servas is dedicated to the understanding of perceived differences, mutual tolerance, and universal peace.

Servas is committed to the belief that people can be bound in the spirit of love and reverence for life, to social responsibility, and to the recognition of human rights everywhere.

Servas means “to serve”, in the sense of “serve peace”, in the Esperanto language.

What do we do?

The aims of Servas, as set out in its charter, 1948, are:

“to help build world peace, goodwill and understanding by providing deeper, more-personal contact with people of other cultures and backgrounds, at grass-roots level, to share the hosts’ life and concern on social and international problems, their interests in creative activities and mutual responsibility for their fellows.”

Servas seeks to implement these principles by providing opportunities for travellers and hosts to come together to learn by first-hand experience, to build bridges of understanding and make true friends. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi:

 


“With every true friendship we build more-firmly the foundation
On which the peace of the whole world rests.
Thought by thought act by act, with every breath, we build the
Kingdom of non-violence that is the true home of the spirit of man.”

 

Servas is much more than just a low-cost world-wide hospitality organisation. It is a powerful movement towards the exchange of ideas between friends, for the building of peace through better understanding of, and mutual tolerance of, perceived differences.

HandsHosts and travellers are encouraged to spend time together for this understanding to develop, so that enlightened, enriching, deep and lasting relationships are established.

How does it work?

Servas operates a network of Servas hosts worldwide who welcome Servas travellers of every race, colour, creed and nationality to their homes in order to foster cultural exchange and understanding. Travellers are normally hosted for up to two nights, unless hosts offer to extend. Servas hosts offer accommodation only to Servas travellers. A Servas traveller need not be a Servas host, and vice versa.

Membership of Servas is in three groups: Hosts, Travellers and Membership-only. A member may be a host and a traveller. There is a $10 annual membership fee. Travellers pay a $50 fee in the year/s they are travelling for a Letter of Introduction (LOI) and Host Lists.

Servas hosts undertake to provide two nights’ accommodation in their own homes to Servas travellers, so that they may learn something of each others culture, interests, occupations, activities and life-style, and so lay the foundations for lasting friendships. The service they offer is entirely voluntary and free of any charge, and they are under no obligation to accept prospective travellers

Servas has over 400 hosts throughout Australia, spread fairly widely. About 400 overseas travellers visit annually from many different countries. Many hosts want more travellers to visit them as it is an enriching experience for them to have people from all around the world drop in for a day or two and share their lives. Australian hosts are welcome to visit other Australian hosts without having traveller status or a letter of introduction.People

Servas is mainly dependent on “word of mouth” contact. You won’t find details of Servas in travel publications.