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THE IMPACT OF AFS & AFSERS


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THE IMPACT OF AFS & AFSERS


Since 1947, AFS has evolved from a traditional student exchange organization to embrace a more robust agenda that prepares and empowers global citizens. As a result, AFSers are making a huge impact around the world in significant ways. Their contributions—big and small—encourage and inspire us to make AFS even stronger going forward.

As cultural, religious and other differences continue to fuel conflicts, AFS remains committed to foster intercultural exchanges, learning and understanding as a powerful and productive way to help create a more just and peaceful world. The 2015 AFS Annual Report reflects five fundamental strategies that help us achieve this critical mission.

  1. AFS offers structured intercultural learning and global citizenship education. After almost 70 years in study abroad, we know that immersive cultural experiences are not enough. So AFS has developed comprehensive learning programs specifically designed for students, host families, volunteers, staff and others.
  2. AFS volunteer training develops a range of skills that last a lifetime: Supporting students and families, facilitating intercultural learning, changemaking and helping manage a dynamic international organization provide AFS volunteers with meaningful personal growth and professional development opportunities.
  3. AFS programs help students and volunteers build critical leadership skills. We prepare today's and tomorrow's leaders to collaborate and lead across cultural differences—all essential 21st-century skills needed in a global world.
  4. AFS encourages students, volunteers and families to embrace changemaking and social impact projects to improve local, national and global communities. We also support and value initiatives that extend our “learning to live together” philosophy to make a real difference in the world as a volunteer, in our professional lives or working for governments, nonprofits and NGOs.
  5. AFS creates strong global partnerships. As an international nonprofit and intercultural learning organization, we encourage all AFSers to connect and work with schools, universities, humanitarian and peace groups, governments and other NGOs on the issues that reflect our mission. In 2015, we were particularly proud to be designated an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Thank you to the AFS global community for helping to make our mission become a reality on so many levels. And congratulations to AFS Argentina, AFS Costa Rica, AFS Latvia, AFS Hungary and AFS India for celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2015.

 
  Christian Werle   Chair, Board of Trustees

Christian Werle
Chair, Board of Trustees

 
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  Vincenzo Morlini   President and CEO

Vincenzo Morlini
President and CEO

 
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AFS AT A GLANCE


AFS AT A GLANCE


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2015 HIGHLIGHTS


2015 HIGHLIGHTS


Students commemorate World War I and AFS Centennial at From Trenches to Bridges Youth Forum

In November 2015, 200 young people from 43 countries attended the the international youth forum From Trenches to Bridges held in Strasbourg, France to learn about volunteerism and active global citizenship from World War I to the present day. Access Alsace, AFS France, AFS Germany, and AFS Switzerland with the assistance of AFS International, organized visits to historical sites, lectures, and educational workshops facilitated by volunteer trainers. On the final day of the forum, participants submitted their multimedia Peace Charter to a representative of the European Parliament. The Peace Charter identifies challenges and offers concrete steps for learning to live together peacefully as part of this World War I Centennial event.

AFS convenes intercultural education conference in Asia

Perspectives, challenges and solutions for promoting and expanding intercultural and global citizenship education throughout the Asia Pacific region dominated discussions at the Learning to Live Together—Intercultural Education: From Ideas to Action international conference held in Bali, Indonesia in April 2015. This regional event brought together 80 researchers, policy makers, experts, practitioners, teachers, university students and administrators with AFSers to explore the importance of intercultural and global citizenship education. AFS Indonesia, Bina Antarbudaya (The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning) hosted this two-day educational event, which was organized by them together with AFS Asia Pacific Initiative (AAI), AFS International and Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR) Indonesia.

New partnership and scholarships strengthen AFS in Africa

The AFS organizations in Africa were pleased to announce the formation of a new partnership in October 2015. AFS in Africa (AIA) will enable AFSers in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia to better support and work with each other, as well as grow and develop their intercultural learning programs. In celebration of this new partnership, AFS President Vincenzo Morlini launched the Investing in Africa’s Future Leaders initiative. The effort helped raise more than 50 scholarships for African students to go on programs in the next two years.

Study tour offers new insights to AFS experiences in China

In May 2015, the AFS International Programs and Risk Management Department organized a study tour to China to help AFS Network Organizations learn more about the country, address challenges faced  together, and plan for future collaboration and program growth. The study tour introduced 17 AFS volunteers and staff from 10 AFS Partners to the history, culture, education system, daily life, study abroad opportunities, and realities in this fascinating country. Study tour participants also enjoyed an overnight stay with a host family. More study tours are being planned to encourage and facilitate AFS organizations expanding and diversifying the programs and destinations they offer.

 

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CELEBRATING AFS ANNIVERSARIES


CELEBRATING AFS ANNIVERSARIES


 AFS Argentina: 60 years  The 60th anniversary of AFS in Argentina was celebrated in April 2015 with a cocktail reception at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a new permanent exhibition in the museum of AFS Argentina & Uruguay, a gala dinner, anniversary scholarship awards for seven students and the AFS Youth Volunteer Forum (organized with AFS International) attended by 50 young participants from all over the world. Since 1955, AFS Argentina & Uruguay has sent 7,585 students abroad and hosted 9,638 students.

AFS Argentina: 60 years

The 60th anniversary of AFS in Argentina was celebrated in April 2015 with a cocktail reception at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a new permanent exhibition in the museum of AFS Argentina & Uruguay, a gala dinner, anniversary scholarship awards for seven students and the AFS Youth Volunteer Forum (organized with AFS International) attended by 50 young participants from all over the world. Since 1955, AFS Argentina & Uruguay has sent 7,585 students abroad and hosted 9,638 students.

 AFS Latvia: 25 years  One of the largest volunteer organizations in the country, AFS Latvia celebrated its 25th anniversary in September 2015. A highlight of this festive occasion was an international educational conference on the  Opportunities of Formal and Non-formal Education.  Since 1990, Latvia has sent 668 students abroad and hosted 890 students.

AFS Latvia: 25 years

One of the largest volunteer organizations in the country, AFS Latvia celebrated its 25th anniversary in September 2015. A highlight of this festive occasion was an international educational conference on the Opportunities of Formal and Non-formal Education. Since 1990, Latvia has sent 668 students abroad and hosted 890 students.

 AFS India: 10 years  AFS India’s festive four-day event in November 2015 included the Annual Volunteers Meet, a red-color-themed gala dinner to symbolize unity, cultural visits and awards for distinguished volunteers and staff. Volunteers also wrote a time capsule message to be read in 2020. Since 2005, AFS India has sent 1,342 students abroad and hosted 1,349 students. 

AFS India: 10 years

AFS India’s festive four-day event in November 2015 included the Annual Volunteers Meet, a red-color-themed gala dinner to symbolize unity, cultural visits and awards for distinguished volunteers and staff. Volunteers also wrote a time capsule message to be read in 2020. Since 2005, AFS India has sent 1,342 students abroad and hosted 1,349 students. 

 AFS Costa Rica: 60 years  The anniversary celebrations of AFS Costa Rica in June 2015 coverded several events, including the first  Regional Forum for Intercultural Learning and Global Citizenship . AFS Costa Rica used the occasion to give awards to AFS alumnus Isaías Salas M.D., founder of the National Center for Pain and Palliative Care of Costa Rica, and José Ramón Chavarría, one of the two founders of the volunteer organization of AFS in Costa Rica. Since 1955, AFS Costa Rica has sent 4,963 students abroad and hosted 6,502 students.

AFS Costa Rica: 60 years

The anniversary celebrations of AFS Costa Rica in June 2015 coverded several events, including the first Regional Forum for Intercultural Learning and Global Citizenship. AFS Costa Rica used the occasion to give awards to AFS alumnus Isaías Salas M.D., founder of the National Center for Pain and Palliative Care of Costa Rica, and José Ramón Chavarría, one of the two founders of the volunteer organization of AFS in Costa Rica. Since 1955, AFS Costa Rica has sent 4,963 students abroad and hosted 6,502 students.

 AFS Hungary: 25 years  AFS Hungary celebrated its 25th anniversary in October 2015 with 250 guests from around the world. Over the weekend, meetings on strategy and future direction of the organization were held and outstanding volunteers were recognized at a gala dinner. Since 1990, AFS Hungary has sent 1,841 students abroad and hosted 1,962 students. 

AFS Hungary: 25 years

AFS Hungary celebrated its 25th anniversary in October 2015 with 250 guests from around the world. Over the weekend, meetings on strategy and future direction of the organization were held and outstanding volunteers were recognized at a gala dinner. Since 1990, AFS Hungary has sent 1,841 students abroad and hosted 1,962 students. 

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CREATING STRONG GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS


CREATING STRONG GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS


UNESCO recognizes AFS as an official partner

“There is a clear relevance of AFS’ work to the current programs and activities of UNESCO, particularly in the fields of education, youth, and intercultural dialogue. Indeed, cooperation between UNESCO and AFS has a solid foundation based on many areas of common interest, synergies and previous collaborations.”  

—Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO

AFS achieved a major milestone in April 2015 when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced its official partnership with the 100-year-old nonprofit organization.

Specifically, AFS was granted “consultative status,” which enables both organizations to collaborate on initiatives of mutual interest and social good.

In 2015, three AFS Network Organizations sponsored events under UNESCO’s patronage:

AFS Costa Rica hosted the Regional Forum for Intercultural Learning and Global Citizenship in June 2015. Participants of the event concluded that intercultural learning is a transformative tool to increase global citizenship in Latin American communities. AFS organizations from the Caribbean region cooperated with the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Education and Ministry of Culture and Youth, and the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights to organize the Forum.

AFS Belgium French conducted a seminar, Bouge ta Culture, in October 2015 in Namur, Belgium to help educators facilitate intercultural learning in schools. The seminar was also supported by Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (FWB), the Confederation of Youth (COJ) and the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL), the umbrella organization for AFS Network Organizations in Europe.

Participants in the AFS Philippines YES Alumni Assembly 2015 attended a workshop in August on Global Citizenship Education given by the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines.

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EDUCATING GLOBAL CITIZENS


EDUCATING GLOBAL CITIZENS


1. Develop a customized intercultural learning curriculum for AFS students. Facilitated by trained volunteers and staff, the AFS Student Learning Journey & Curriculum will enhance their exchange experience and build intercultural skills that will last a lifetime. 

2. Turn the host family experience into a facilitated intercultural learning adventure for the entire family. The AFS Host Family Intercultural Learning Journey will help family members and hosted students develop tangible skills through fun educational activities and discussions.

3. Expand the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program for volunteers and staff. Increasing the intercultural competency of our facilitators and the number of trainers improves the quality of AFS programs and the transformative learning of our students, families and others we touch.

4. Create an Educators & Schools Relations community and handbook. Well-researched guidelines, resources and tools will help local AFS organizations develop or improve partnerships with educational institutions and ministries.

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TRANSFORMING THE VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE


2015 was a pivotal year for volunteerism at AFS—a year of reflection, research and realigning our core values with the future realities of volunteering.

TRANSFORMING THE VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE


2015 was a pivotal year for volunteerism at AFS—a year of reflection, research and realigning our core values with the future realities of volunteering.

Volunteers serve as the driving force of AFS by helping students, host families and schools learn to live together. They facilitate the transformative AFS experience—what we call the #AFSeffect—in others.  And volunteers help keep our organization strong by serving on boards, work groups and task forces to constantly drive improvement.

Although rethinking our volunteer experience required questioning assumptions, the ultimate role of AFS volunteers remains true: Bringing people together to promote intercultural understanding is more important than ever. 

Keeping this in mind, the AFS International Organizational Development team also explored what volunteers want to gain personally and professionally while supporting students, host families and schools. The answer was loud and clear: As they help others, volunteers believe their AFS experience should help them learn, grow and make a difference too.

The new AFS Strategic Framework for Volunteer Development introduced in October 2015 sets the foundation to make this happen. 

Empowering young AFS volunteers

How can young volunteers have a bigger voice in AFS? That was the focus of the AFS Youth Volunteer Forum held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in April 2015, sponsored by AFS Argentina & Uruguay and organized with AFS International. Fifty young AFSers from 24 countries brainstormed ways to involve more young people in AFS governance, decision-making and planning for the future. Forum outcomes reinforced discussions that were already taking place among young AFS volunteers, which then resulted in the AFS Green Paper: Empowering Young People for a Bigger, Better, Stronger AFS submitted to the AFS Board of Trustees. Their suggestions also informed the AFS Strategic Framework for Volunteer Development.

AFS Malaysia and AFS International forum highlights the importance of volunteerism to civil society

The Volunteering & Growing Impact Forum, organized by Yayasan AFS Antarabudaya Malaysia (AFS Malaysia) and AFS International in October 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, explored how active volunteerism in the region contributes to a stronger civil society in the age of global citizenship. This essential conversation came on the heels of the 2015 UN General Assembly meeting where volunteerism was declared “vital” to the success of the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDG), and an “integral component of the new development agenda.” Distinguished speakers represented four local nonprofits: 1Malaysia For Youth (iM4U), MERCY Malaysia—The Malaysian Medical Relief Society, Sols 24/7 Malaysia and AFS Malaysia. 

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LEADING ACROSS CULTURAL DIFFERENCES


Outstanding AFSers continue to demonstrate and champion the power of the #AFSeffect well beyond their years as exchange students, host parents or board members. We are proud to present these women and men who are making great strides and a real difference as leaders in humanitarian aid, education and human rights.

LEADING ACROSS CULTURAL DIFFERENCES


Outstanding AFSers continue to demonstrate and champion the power of the #AFSeffect well beyond their years as exchange students, host parents or board members. We are proud to present these women and men who are making great strides and a real difference as leaders in humanitarian aid, education and human rights.

  Anies Rasyid Baswedan, Ph.D., Minister of Education and Culture of Indonesia.  Sending partner: AFS Indonesia (1987)  Anies Rasyid Baswedan founded the “Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar” (Teaching Indonesia Movement), which enables young educators to volunteer at elementary schools and donate books to schools and children in rural areas. Recognized for his groundbreaking accomplishments, Anies was the moderator of the historic and first presidential debate in the country, the youngest president of a university and the spokesperson for a national anti-corruption group.

Anies Rasyid Baswedan, Ph.D., Minister of Education and Culture of Indonesia. Sending partner: AFS Indonesia (1987)

Anies Rasyid Baswedan founded the “Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar” (Teaching Indonesia Movement), which enables young educators to volunteer at elementary schools and donate books to schools and children in rural areas. Recognized for his groundbreaking accomplishments, Anies was the moderator of the historic and first presidential debate in the country, the youngest president of a university and the spokesperson for a national anti-corruption group.

  Morten Kjærum, Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.  Sending partner: AFS Denmark (1974)  Morten Kjærum is a longtime human rights activist with an impressive track record. Morten created and lead the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) from 1991 to 2008 and then became the first director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. Today, he is the Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Sweden, which promotes universal respect for human rights and humanitarian law, in affiliation with Lund University. For six years Morten was a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and today he is the chair of ECRE—the biggest non-governmental network of humanitarian organizations assisting refugees in Europe.

Morten Kjærum, Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. Sending partner: AFS Denmark (1974)

Morten Kjærum is a longtime human rights activist with an impressive track record. Morten created and lead the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) from 1991 to 2008 and then became the first director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. Today, he is the Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Sweden, which promotes universal respect for human rights and humanitarian law, in affiliation with Lund University. For six years Morten was a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and today he is the chair of ECRE—the biggest non-governmental network of humanitarian organizations assisting refugees in Europe.

  Ulrike Lunacek, Vice-President of the European Parliament.  Sending partner: AFS Austria (1973)  Ulrike Lunacek’s work in foreign affairs positions her as an ideal advocate for civil liberties and human rights—including the rights of women, and ethnic and sexual minorities. Ulrike also promotes fair trade and corporate social responsibility to protect the environment. This global citizen was the first openly lesbian politician in her home country, Austria, and the first openly lesbian woman to hold a senior position in a European Union institution. In 2014, Ulrike handed Pope Francis a rainbow scarf (as a symbol for peace, indigenous peoples and the LGBTI community) on his visit to the European Parliament.

Ulrike Lunacek, Vice-President of the European Parliament. Sending partner: AFS Austria (1973)

Ulrike Lunacek’s work in foreign affairs positions her as an ideal advocate for civil liberties and human rights—including the rights of women, and ethnic and sexual minorities. Ulrike also promotes fair trade and corporate social responsibility to protect the environment. This global citizen was the first openly lesbian politician in her home country, Austria, and the first openly lesbian woman to hold a senior position in a European Union institution. In 2014, Ulrike handed Pope Francis a rainbow scarf (as a symbol for peace, indigenous peoples and the LGBTI community) on his visit to the European Parliament.

  Marlene Johnson, Executive Director & CEO of NAFSA.  Host family: AFS USA (1963)  As the executive director and CEO for 18 years, Marlene Johnson has helped NAFSA (Association of International Educators) become a leading organization for international education and university-level study abroad. With 10,000 members worldwide, NAFSA advocates for immigration reform and making study abroad available to all students. The organization also works closely with academic and corporate partners on higher education mobility and intercultural learning issues. 

Marlene Johnson, Executive Director & CEO of NAFSA. Host family: AFS USA (1963)

As the executive director and CEO for 18 years, Marlene Johnson has helped NAFSA (Association of International Educators) become a leading organization for international education and university-level study abroad. With 10,000 members worldwide, NAFSA advocates for immigration reform and making study abroad available to all students. The organization also works closely with academic and corporate partners on higher education mobility and intercultural learning issues. 

  Jakub Walenda, Chair of Gemeinsam TECHO e.V.   Sending partner: AFS Germany (2011)   and  Maddalena Andolfato, Volunteer for TECHO.  Sending partner: AFS Italy (2014)  These two outstanding AFS alumni from different countries volunteer for TECHO, a youth led non-profit organization. TECHO collaborates with local families in 19 Latin American countries and the Caribbean to eradicate extreme poverty.   Jakub Walenda was the first chair of the TECHO volunteer organization in Germany after returning from his AFS program in Chile. Under his leadership, TECHO Germany has raised money, recruited hundreds of young volunteers and enabled dozens of AFSers to become changemakers. As a Europe Coordinator, Jakub helped establish volunteer teams in Belgium, France, UK, Switzerland and Germany, raising approximately USD150,000 for social projects in Latin America.  During her AFS program in Costa Rica, Maddalena Andolfato was deeply impacted by her volunteering experiences for TECHO. In a powerful gesture of support, Maddalena celebrated her 18th birthday with a crowdfunding campaign that raised over 7,000 EUR—enough for two houses in Costa Rica, and the campaign is still open.

Jakub Walenda, Chair of Gemeinsam TECHO e.V.  Sending partner: AFS Germany (2011) and Maddalena Andolfato, Volunteer for TECHO. Sending partner: AFS Italy (2014)

These two outstanding AFS alumni from different countries volunteer for TECHO, a youth led non-profit organization. TECHO collaborates with local families in 19 Latin American countries and the Caribbean to eradicate extreme poverty. 

Jakub Walenda was the first chair of the TECHO volunteer organization in Germany after returning from his AFS program in Chile. Under his leadership, TECHO Germany has raised money, recruited hundreds of young volunteers and enabled dozens of AFSers to become changemakers. As a Europe Coordinator, Jakub helped establish volunteer teams in Belgium, France, UK, Switzerland and Germany, raising approximately USD150,000 for social projects in Latin America.

During her AFS program in Costa Rica, Maddalena Andolfato was deeply impacted by her volunteering experiences for TECHO. In a powerful gesture of support, Maddalena celebrated her 18th birthday with a crowdfunding campaign that raised over 7,000 EUR—enough for two houses in Costa Rica, and the campaign is still open.


New certificate program targets critical 21st-century global skills

 The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) state-of-the-art educational program was launched in 2015. This program combines intercultural learning and “cultural adjustment” modules to prepare students, interns, volunteers or employees for experiences in new cultural environments. The GCC, which consists of online components and in-person sessions, is offered to participants in internship, academic courses, language immersion or volunteer abroad opportunities offered by Sentio member organizations. It is also available to universities, businesses and NGOs interested in using the GCC to prepare their staff and students for international programs. So far, more than 200 participants already have enrolled in this new educational program. Sentio, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AFS Intercultural Programs.

The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) state-of-the-art educational program was launched in 2015. This program combines intercultural learning and “cultural adjustment” modules to prepare students, interns, volunteers or employees for experiences in new cultural environments. The GCC, which consists of online components and in-person sessions, is offered to participants in internship, academic courses, language immersion or volunteer abroad opportunities offered by Sentio member organizations. It is also available to universities, businesses and NGOs interested in using the GCC to prepare their staff and students for international programs. So far, more than 200 participants already have enrolled in this new educational program. Sentio, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AFS Intercultural Programs.

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EMBRACING SOCIAL IMPACT


EMBRACING SOCIAL IMPACT


AFS encourages our students, volunteers and families to take on changemaking projects as part our commitment to improve local, national and global communities.

Many AFS Network Organizations have embraced changemaking and launched social impact projects to promote the importance of intercultural learning and the power of cultural understanding within local communities. In 2015, the AFS Intercultural Learning (ICL) in Our Own Backyard Awards and the new AFS Volunteers Changemakers Awards honored these efforts. This is the third year for the ICL Awards, which were selected by an international panel of judges representing UNESCO, the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the European Federation of Intercultural Learning (EFIL) and AFS. Using crowdsourcing methods, the AFS global community chose the winning Changemakers projects.

The AFS Intercultural Learning (ICL) in Our Own Backyard Awards

 Best Overall: AFS Turkey   Intercultural Learning Courses at Universities   AFS Turkey developed university-level intercultural courses offered at Özyegin University and Kültür University in Istanbul that teach students how to function effectively in cross-cultural business and social settings. Students learn how to recognize cultural differences, understand what those differences are and identify ways to apply that knowledge in real-life situations. 

Best Overall: AFS Turkey

Intercultural Learning Courses at Universities

AFS Turkey developed university-level intercultural courses offered at Özyegin University and Kültür University in Istanbul that teach students how to function effectively in cross-cultural business and social settings. Students learn how to recognize cultural differences, understand what those differences are and identify ways to apply that knowledge in real-life situations. 

 Most Innovative: AFS Philippines    Traveling Around The Philippines: Understanding Cultural Differences and Increasing Cultural Awareness  storytelling program   AFS Philippines was recognized for using creative and innovative storytelling techniques to help out-of-school youth (ages from 3 to 13) who survived Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) understand the importance of social progress, tolerance, diversity and living peacefully together as Filipinos. AFS Philippines partnered with Sangkatigan— a community organization—and the Leyte Kalipayan Dance Company to create this interactive program. The event encouraged students to join two travelers as they “journeyed” through the Philippines experiencing a variety of local cultures.

Most Innovative: AFS Philippines

Traveling Around The Philippines: Understanding Cultural Differences and Increasing Cultural Awareness storytelling program

AFS Philippines was recognized for using creative and innovative storytelling techniques to help out-of-school youth (ages from 3 to 13) who survived Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) understand the importance of social progress, tolerance, diversity and living peacefully together as Filipinos. AFS Philippines partnered with Sangkatigan— a community organization—and the Leyte Kalipayan Dance Company to create this interactive program. The event encouraged students to join two travelers as they “journeyed” through the Philippines experiencing a variety of local cultures.

 Most Relevant: AFS Italy    Learning to Live Together: Humanitarianism, Reconciliation and Education for Plural Societies  international conference   Organized by Fondazione Intercultura and Intercultura Italy, this Trento conference convened 16 well-known international speakers to present case studies of reconciliation and peace education after severe conflicts in South Africa, Bosnia, the Basque countries, Northern Ireland, South Tyrol, Israel and Palestine. Five hundredinternational participants attended the May 2015 conference, which was a highlight of Intercultura’s yearlong centennial celebration of the American Field Service.  

Most Relevant: AFS Italy

Learning to Live Together: Humanitarianism, Reconciliation and Education for Plural Societies international conference

Organized by Fondazione Intercultura and Intercultura Italy, this Trento conference convened 16 well-known international speakers to present case studies of reconciliation and peace education after severe conflicts in South Africa, Bosnia, the Basque countries, Northern Ireland, South Tyrol, Israel and Palestine. Five hundredinternational participants attended the May 2015 conference, which was a highlight of Intercultura’s yearlong centennial celebration of the American Field Service.  

 Most Sustainable: AFS Russia   Learning Course:  Global Citizen    AFS Russia was recognized for creating a course that introduces intercultural learning concepts to young teens (12 to 14 years old). The course, which runs for 34 academic hours, is based on AFS materials and helps students gain the knowledge, skills and understanding required to live and act appropriately in multicultural settings in their own communities or around the world. This popular course, offered in schools, prepares young people to become responsible citizens and spreads the AFS message in local communities.   

Most Sustainable: AFS Russia

Learning Course: Global Citizen

AFS Russia was recognized for creating a course that introduces intercultural learning concepts to young teens (12 to 14 years old). The course, which runs for 34 academic hours, is based on AFS materials and helps students gain the knowledge, skills and understanding required to live and act appropriately in multicultural settings in their own communities or around the world. This popular course, offered in schools, prepares young people to become responsible citizens and spreads the AFS message in local communities.

 


The AFS Volunteer Changemakers Awards

  AFS Social Impact Award: AFS Argentina & Uruguay Volunteers, Wintercamp AC project   This unique camp prepared students (ages 16 to 18) to develop social business ventures based on challenges they identified in their communities. Participants from different schools, socioeconomic groups and backgrounds learned how to work together, which helped reduce local cultural conflicts and rivalries. In addition, involving teachers and local school officials opened up new collaboration opportunities.  After the camp, participants launched initiatives that tackled bullying, environmental protection and discrimination.   AFS Organizational Innovation Award: AFS Turkey Volunteers, The Hakkari-Izmir Local Exchange Program   This noteworthy in-country week-long exchange program brought together two diverse communities—Hakkari (eastern Turkey) and Izmir (western Turkey)—that would otherwise not interact due to religious, cultural and other differences. Since the exchange, the Hakkari students and their Izmir host families and volunteers (almost 200 people altogether) have stayed connected to continue their intercultural learning and share what they learned with each other, their families and communities. Bringing AFS to these regions has also increased interest about AFS’ mission and programs.

AFS Social Impact Award: AFS Argentina & Uruguay Volunteers, Wintercamp AC project

This unique camp prepared students (ages 16 to 18) to develop social business ventures based on challenges they identified in their communities. Participants from different schools, socioeconomic groups and backgrounds learned how to work together, which helped reduce local cultural conflicts and rivalries. In addition, involving teachers and local school officials opened up new collaboration opportunities.  After the camp, participants launched initiatives that tackled bullying, environmental protection and discrimination.

AFS Organizational Innovation Award: AFS Turkey Volunteers, The Hakkari-Izmir Local Exchange Program

This noteworthy in-country week-long exchange program brought together two diverse communities—Hakkari (eastern Turkey) and Izmir (western Turkey)—that would otherwise not interact due to religious, cultural and other differences. Since the exchange, the Hakkari students and their Izmir host families and volunteers (almost 200 people altogether) have stayed connected to continue their intercultural learning and share what they learned with each other, their families and communities. Bringing AFS to these regions has also increased interest about AFS’ mission and programs.