AFS Intercultural Programs and the AFS Asia-Pacific Initiative (AAI) with the support of UNESCO New Delhi Office, convened the 3rd Annual AFS Asia-Pacific International Global Citizenship Education Forum, entitled Global Citizenship Education: Essential for Employability & the 21st Century Workforce in New Delhi, India between 20-22 April.

Engaging with different actors in the growing movement to develop global citizens was one of the key benefits of the Forum. Recently there have been more and more initiatives which clearly emphasize the need for better global competence development, including the new PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) global competence tests and the Global Goals focusing on quality education and fostering peace and justice in societies. The global network of AFS organizations has been contributing to this movement with its unique study abroad programs guided by research-based learning journeys for all stakeholders involved, as well as by convening similar events on a regular basis.

The Forum brought together 85 participants (educators, researchers, corporations, governments, NGOs and students) from nine countries and all regions of India with a distinguished line-up of speakers including Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Director of UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development; Matangi Gowrishankar, Director of British Petroleum’s Global Leadership Academy; Francisco Marmolejo, Lead of World Bank Global Solutions Group on Tertiary Education Sumer Singh, Former Principal of Daly College and many others from both the education and corporate sectors.

Over two days of keynote speeches, panels, and interactive workshops, participants had a chance to discuss the relevance of global citizenship education for employability and the 21st-century workforce. Sharing best practices in helping learners develop global competencies and providing opportunities for these essential skills to be utilized in the workplace, both educators and employers at the event called for increased collaboration between the two parties.

Participants of the Forum highlighted the essential role that organizations like AFS can play in supporting schools and students to develop and demonstrate global competencies in terms meaningful for employers. With a call for increased collaboration among employers, educators, policy makers and students themselves, the Forum emphasized global competency development should go hand-in-hand with science, math, technology and engineering within our education systems.

Another key highlight of the Forum was the valuable contributions of young students who not only shared their important insights but also facilitated fruitful group discussions. Students pointed out the lack of acknowledgment and appreciation of their global competencies and soft skills in most education systems.

For more information about the Forum and its outcomes you can visit www.afs.org/aaiconference.

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