Scholarships, outreach and advocacy ensure that more people from diverse and underserved communities participate in and benefit from AFS programs and initiatives.
We believe a just and peaceful world is only possible when the global community respects diversity, embraces inclusiveness and works together to address the world’s most pressing challenges.
AFS is using scholarships, outreach and advocacy to help make international education more inclusive, and invite more voices and perspectives to join this growing global movement.
SCHOLARSHIPS: TICKETS TO NEW HORIZONS
Now more than ever, the world needs talented young global citizens from all backgrounds. Scholarship programs provide international experiences that help build global perspectives like for AFS alumnus Nour Bejaoui (Tunisia to Italy, 2016–17) who received an AFS Investing in Africa’s Future Leaders scholarship. “I learned how to insert myself into a new society while adapting to the change of habits, new customs and seeing things from new perspectives. This opened my eyes to the diversity of issues around the world, and ways of dealing with them.”
Over the next five years, AFS is committed to having participants reflect the diversity of populations in countries where we operate. To achieve this, AFS is significantly increasing our fundraising efforts. In 2017, AFS awarded $25.8 million to more than 4,500 students.
OUTREACH: BUILDING BRIDGES
AFS is a welcoming community, and we believe the world is stronger because of our differences. In 2017, AFS celebrated a groundbreaking initiative that helps open doors to the LGBTQ community. Founded in 2010 by volunteers and staff of AFS Germany, QueerExchange (QueerTausch) was honored by the German association Bündnis für Demokratie und Toleranz for promoting democracy and tolerance last year. QueerExchange raises awareness about LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and other) issues, sexual diversity and supports AFS students and volunteers. AFS Germany Board Chair Andrea Arnemann and her wife Shuggi, who helped found QueerExchange, received the 2017 AFS Peggy and Art Howe award for their service to AFS, which includes hosting six international students.
ADVOCACY: LEADING GLOBAL CONVERSATIONS
AFS forums and AFS speakers at significant industry events advocated for global competence as an essential 21st century skill, and helped strengthen the intercultural learning movement.
More than 1,200 people attended five AFS forums in 2017 to discuss how global competence increases employability, and the best ways to prepare young people to thrive in a global economy.
These symposiums were hosted by AFS Organizations in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Hong Kong, India and Tunisia. Prominent speakers included UNESCO Chair in Global Citizenship Education Carlos Torres, Lead of World Bank Global Solutions Group on Tertiary Education Francisco Marmolejo, Ghana’s Minister of State for Tertiary Education Kwesi Yankah, and Teach For Ghana CEO Daniel Dotse.
AFS Tunisia’s Global Citizenship Education Forum identified the resources needed to bring intercultural learning into the classrooms. Keynoting the event were Wided Bouchamaoui, Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Ambassador Hatem Atallah, the Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation.
UNESCO, World Bank Group, British Council, Asia Society Hong Kong, Education World and Rosetta Stone sponsored individual events.
In March, AFS also convened two conferences focused on using dialogue as an intercultural tool. AFS France (AFS Vivre Sans Frontière) brought together 150 participants to brainstorm concrete ways for “Living, Learning and Innovating Together.” The difficulty of dealing with religious differences in intercultural dialogue and training was discussed at the “The Unspoken Sacred” event hosted by the Intercultural Foundation (AFS Italy) in Bari, which was attended by 300 conference participants.
More at afs.org/events.