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ACE Foundation

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ACE Foundation (The Association for Cultural Exchange) is a non-profit, educational charity based in Cambridge, England, which supports cultural and international understanding. The ACE Foundation provides courses, seminars, study tours, summer schools and lectures. ACE operates both in the UK and overseas and, in addition to its own courses, provides grants and scholarships. The ACE Foundation was founded in 1958 by Philip Brooke Barnes.[1] Fields of study supported include history, architecture, archaeology, theory of education, theatre and literature, music, general history and natural history.[2] ACE has been a pioneer in adult education, through its summer schools in Cambridge and Oxford, which began in 1958, and in lifelong learning.

The ACE Foundation organised archaeological exchange programmes with Eastern Europe throughout the Cold War period. More recently the Foundation has supported aerial archaeological research in Eastern Europe, using airspace which was previously inaccessible due to political and security reasons.

A subsidiary business of the ACE Foundation is ACE Cultural Tours, which emerged as a result of Philip Barnes’s recognition of the importance of context to education and understanding. ACE cultural tours visit various projects the ACE Foundation supports, including the Yachana Foundation in Ecuador, dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to the challenges facing the Ecuadorian Amazon region.

An ACE visit to Ethiopia in 2002 resulted in the formation of Book Link - a charity dedicated to providing useful text books to schools in Ethiopia. The foundation has supported various Fauna and Flora International projects, such as Flower Valley in South Africa, and conservation capacity building in Cambodia and Romania.[3]

Other projects which the Foundation has supported include the Cambridge Holiday Orchestra Association – Cambridge - England, Mathieson Music Trust – Calcutta - India, Feedback Madagascar - Madagascar and the Postwar Redevelopment Unit - York University - England.

Scholarship programmes offered by the ACE Foundation include those at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, the annual Attingham Trust summer school and the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

The ACE Foundation began summer schools in archaeology in 1964. The 2010 British Archaeology Summer School was held in partnership with Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and directed by Sir Paul Mellars, Professor of Pre-History and Human Evolution in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and ACE Foundation trustee.


The ACE Foundation is governed by a board of trustees: Ann Barrett, Paul Mellars, Roland Randall, Denis Moriarty, Colin Moses, Nicholas Wright, Paul Brooke Barnes.


  1. Vaizey, Marina (12 September 2009). "Philip Barnes: Educational pioneer who founded the Association for Cultural Exchange". The Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  2. Collins, D. R. Whitehouse. M.Henig. D. Whitehouse, Background to Archaeology: Britain in its European Setting Cambridge University Press. 1973.
  3. Fauna & Flora: The magazine of Fauna & Flora international: Issue 12 – October 2009.

External links[edit]

  • ACE Foundation [1]
  • ACE Study Tours [2]

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