FOCUS is a faith-based coalition of Portland community members, area churches and campus ministries.
Our purpose is to serve international students, scholars, and professionals from all religions, worldviews and nations and extend unconditional friendship in the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth.
FOCUS adheres to the ethical standards established by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and ACMI: Association of Christians in Ministry to Internationals.
FOCUS is a volunteer organization and is not employed by Portland State University.
History of FOCUS
In 1986 Dr. Fred Wagner submitted a proposal for a community based organization to serve the needs of international students and scholars that was accepted by Portland State University. A desk was provided and FOCUS began to offer airport pickups, home stays, Friendship Partners, and other services. Dr. Wagner gathered other workers, then reached out to students at PSU.
During those first years, community members gathered regularly for coordination of activities. A yearly Global Village Banquet was held to match Friendship Partners with interested students.
Today, more than thirty years later, FOCUS has grown to a voluntary organization utilizing as many as 100 community volunteers and staff of all ages, professions and any church denominations. FOCUS works hard to always welcome students from any and every worldview, providing services to students without regard to race, gender, social class, religious or non-religious views, sexual orientation, nationality or immigrant status.
The FOCUS Staff Team
FOCUS Staff collaborate from a variety of university campus ministry and church-based service movements. In 2020-21 these included: Chi Alpha Internationals, COM, and InterFACE. Many of the FOCUS staff have advanced degrees in Education, Education Administration, Student Services, Leadership, Theology and other fields. Many have lived and/or taught in international settings worldwide.
Each year FOCUS serves approximately 500 students from more than 40 nations.