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.