We are deeply saddened and outraged by the events unfolding in Ukraine. Russia’s acts of force and violence are in stark contrast to all we stand for and believe in. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this conflict, especially the millions of innocent people living in the region who deserve a peaceful present and future.Encore Tours is a part of AIFS, whose mission is to bring the world together. For nearly 60 years, AIFS has promoted the importance of global understanding across our family of programs. Our programs help young people from all over the world to understand each other’s qualities, values and differences. We believe in reaching across borders to build understanding and friendships that enrich lives and make the world a better place. At Encore we do this through performance travel. At times like this, enhanced global understanding is greater than ever.Encore doesn’t currently have any travel programs planned for Russia or Ukraine. We are in constant contact with our local offices and agents, and all of our tours to the rest of Europe are able to safely run as planned. And of course, we will continue to monitor the events if they might impact our programs.It seems impossible to imagine that only four years ago I had watched a Champions League final in Kyiv, took a crazy day trip to Chernobyl and drove south to the beautiful Black Sea resort in Odessa. Travel sometimes offers a chilling reminder of places and friends we leave behind. As the world watches a war that hopefully will cease soon , I remember those moments in Ukraine well. I remember the people and the extraordinary day we spent in Chernobyl. I remember the tour guide and driver who were both so excited and loved sharing their country. The good and the bad. I think of the guide. Veeka, an amazing person. Odessa with its beautiful music hall and a crazy chair lift that seemed utterly dangerous that took us to the beach area. I think of all the people we met who helped us love their country and I feel sad. Pawns in a terrible game of political maneuvering. I remember these moments as if they were yesterday. The kids parade, the spectacular sights of Odessa. A most beautiful city on the Black Sea. And I am sad and appalled. Russia. Shame on you. The whole world is watching. And nobody will win!