A.C.E. History

An Overview of A.C.E.'s Development from 1973 to present

Formally incorporated as an educational non-profit organization 501(c)(3) in 1973, Associates in Cultural Exchange has become a leader in the field of language education and cross cultural training in the United States. Today, A.C.E. has offices in numerous locations, both in the United States and Japan, and programs running in 80 locations. We are recognized as experts in English as a second language training, foreign language acquisition programs, and international education development.

1973 American Cultural Exchange founded.

A group of 20 African leaders, part of the United Stated Information Agency's (USIA) Operation Crossroads Africa program, is A.C.E.'s first short-term special training program.


1976 A.C.E. Foreign Language Program established at the Downtown Seattle YMCA building in Seattle, Washington.

A.C.E. sponsors its first intensive English language program for a group of students from Saudi Arabia at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington.


1977 Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) founded at Seattle Pacific University.


1979 The Language School introduces the Children's Program to teach foreign languages to elementary school children.

Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) founded at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.


1980 Individualized Training in English for Professionals (ITEP) established to provide specialized English language training; a group of Mexican nationals are the first participants.


1985 Seattle Translation Center established to provide translation and interpretation services.


1988 Technical Training Programs added as a specific division of A.C.E.'s Special Programs and Services program center.


1989 Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) founded at North Seattle Community College.

A.C.E. Center established on campus of Asia University in Tokyo.


1992 International Training and Development Institute (ITDI) established as a program center to coordinate A.C.E.'s short-term group, technical, cross-cultural, and individual training programs.


1993 Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) founded at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Washington.


1994 Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) founded at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.


1995 Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) founded at the Flinders University of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia.

Conversational English Program established at Sung Sil University in Seoul, Korea.


1996 The IELI programs located in the United States renamed A.C.E. Language Institutes.

A.C.E.-Japan established to oversee Japan operations.


1997 A.C.E. Language Institute established in West Chicago area. In 1999, program relocates to Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.


1998 A.C.E. Foreign Language Programs renamed A.C.E. World Language Programs.

International Training & Development Institute renamed A.C.E. Training & Development Institute.


1999 A.C.E. Translation Center becomes core program of newly-formed subsidiary, A.C.E. InfoTech Group.

A.C.E. Training & Development Institute coordinates major conferences on global warming and renewable energy.


2000 A.C.E. InfoTech Group sold

Associates in Cultural Exchange becomes new DBA for American Cultural Exchange.


2001 3 Access Initiatives Launched to serve immigrants, refugees, people with disabilities, and underserved youth with free language education and training programs in multiple locations.


2002 Partnership with OneWorld Now! initiated with over 100 underserved students by Year 3 studying Arabic and Chinese in 5 Seattle high schools.


2003 A.C.E. President joins board of Commission on English Language Program Accreditation for 3-year term.


2004 A.C.E. becomes fiscal agent for Washington State Coalition for International Education's projects for the 2004-2005 year.

A.C.E. becomes consulting agency for Sultan Qaboos University, providing liaison services in the U.S.

Language Works! division established encompassing all A.C.E. community development programs. Language Works! programs reach out to 1500 underserved people.


2005 A.C.E. facilitates the first visit to Seattle of Dr. Magdi Abd El Hafez, Director of Planning for the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Trade Development Alliance collaborates with A.C.E. in inviting and hosting Dr. Magdi for this strategic visit. Dr. Magdi subsequently establishes the UAE Academy as the workforce training division of the chamber.

A.C.E. hosts 30 top male students from Sultan Qaboos University for a study tour in the Pacific Northwest, a program funded by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and the first from the university to be conducted in the U.S.


2006 10th year of the International Education Administration program sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education and hosted by the A.C.E. Language Institute and Montana State University in Bozeman, MT.

A.C.E. becomes the U.S. Liaison Office for the UAE Academy and facilitated the development of a University of Washington training program in Abu Dhabi in partnership with the UAE Academy.

A.C.E. hosts the first 25 elementary teachers of English sponsored by the Gyeonggi Province Ministry of Education for English training at the A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University.

A.C.E. hosts 30 top female students from Sultan Qaboos University for a study tour in the Pacific Northwest, a program funded by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and the first for women from the university to be conducted in the U.S.


2007 A.C.E. hosts 13 young professional graduates from the UAE Academy for a study tour in Seattle in partnership with the Trade Development Alliance, a program funded by the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs and the first mixed gender group to be sent overseas from the UAE.

A.C.E. provides 4 weeks of teacher training for 24 top graduates of the Gyeonggi Institute for Foreign Language Education in partnership with the Seattle School District and 6 high and middle schools. In partnership with the University of Washington and the Seattle School District, A.C.E. World Language Programs holds summer language and culture camps for elementary school children with camps focused on Arabic, Persian, and Korean.


2008 A.C.E. celebrates its 35th year!


2009 A.C.E. launches A.C.E. Abroad by organizing and leading a four-day Study Mission to the Sultanate of Oman.

A.C.E. holds its 35th Anniversary International Symposium, hosting experts from around the globe including Ambassador Raymond Joseph, Haitian representative to the United States.

A.C.E. World Language Programs receives a federal StarTalk grant and holds free, two-week summer language camps in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu for 75 Seattle-area elementary students.


2010 A.C.E. awarded a $10,000 grant by the PARSA Community Foundation to provide a summer camp on Persian language and culture through the World Language Programs division.


2011 The Society for Testing English Proficiency (STEP) and Associates in Cultural Exchange (A.C.E.) announce a cooperative agreement regarding U.S. based efforts for educational exchange. A.C.E to handle college outreach for STEP in the greater North American region, facilitate communication between institutions in the U.S. and Japan, and develop scholar/ student exchange programs between cooperative institutions.

Bastyr University and A.C.E. sign an articulation agreement to enable qualified international students to smoothly transition from the A.C.E. Language Institute system into Bastyr University's world renowned degree programs in natural health sciences

A.C.E. hosts 18 top-level Russian university administrators for its seminar entitled "US Higher Education: Instruction, Academic Programs, and Management."


2012 A.C.E. launches two new language institutes - A.C.E. Language Institute at the University of Rhode Island and A.C.E. Language Institute at Saint Francis University.

A.C.E. World Language & Culture Ambassadors hosts its first fun run, The Run About the World.


2013 A.C.E. celebrates its 40 anniversary with a series of celebrations throughout the year, including the Global Partners Networking Luncheon at NAFSA and local events at each institute location.

A.C.E. Language Institutes at Seattle Pacific University and Montana State University receive accreditation by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA).


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