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.