AFS Intercultural Programs organizes public education events worldwide to make a powerful and transformative impact, foster intercultural learning and bring diverse communities together. For the fifth year in a row, the most impactful, sustainable and innovative public events addressing education and intercultural learning were honored with the AFS Education Event Awards. AFS Philippines, Belgium Flanders, Italy and France received awards for their outstanding educational initiatives.

An international panel of judges representing the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Qatar Foundation’s WISE Initiative, Asia Society, Soronko Academy, European Federation of Intercultural Learning (EFIL) and AFS Intercultural Programs selected the top four initiatives from more than 20 submissions from 17 countries.

AFS Philippines received the Best Overall award for empowering youth to become active global citizens, promoting sustainable peace and art in the Mindanao Island dealing with regional conflicts, on the occasion of International Youth Day 2017. This initiative titled “Youth Building Peace” also collected donations for the internally displaced people of Marawi City in Mindanao, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Davao, ASEAN Young Leaders Association Davao, National Youth Commission Philippines and others.

Building intercultural understanding between unaccompanied minor asylum seekers and the local community through intercultural workshops and information sessions won AFS Belgium Flanders the Most Relevant AFS Education Event Award. Belgian volunteers worked with the local schools to educate students on the refugee crisis and invite them to help the integration of refugees in the local communities through the established “buddy system”. These activities were organized in partnership with Federation Agency for Shelter for Asylum-Seekers in Belgium (Fedasil).

AFS Italy (Intercultura) was awarded Most Sustainable AFS Education Event Award for “The Unspoken Sacred” conference, strengthening interfaith dialogue and tackling religious differences in intercultural training. 250 academics, educators, international organisations, teachers, and AFS volunteers attended the event and concluded that having more open and informed discussions will help people understand the roots of cultural behaviors and mindsets. The event was organized in partnership with the Council of Europe, Region of Apulia, Bari City Hall and Bari University “Aldo Moro”.

AFS France was awarded Most Relevant AFS Education Event Award for convening the global citizenship forum “Living, Learning and Innovating Together”. Almost 150 participants interested in creating bridges between diverse organizations and individuals discovered concrete and innovative initiatives responding to the significant need for intercultural dialogue in our society. The Forum included interactive workshops which inspired participants to explore various aspects of intercultural understanding.

AFS is committed to continuing to organize relevant events to address pressing local issues and in such a way build more intercultural understanding and create a more just and peaceful world.