We support and equip more than 5,000 educators, schools, institutions and NGOs to deliver effective intercultural programs that build global competence.
The British Council Culture at Work survey of 400 employers in nine countries reported that there is “real business value in employing staff who have the ability to effectively work with individuals and organizations from cultural backgrounds other than their own.”
To meet this urgent demand for globally competent employees, AFS is developing strategic alliances with educators, policymakers and business leaders.
This year, working with schools is particularly important, as many school districts prepare for the new Global Competence Framework that will be incorporated to OECD’s PISA annual assessment of teenagers, beginning in September 2018.
Integrating intercultural learning into the classroom requires high-level collaboration. For the past eight years, Fondazione Intercultura, European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL) and AFS have convened the Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchange (FILE) to advocate for intercultural lessons in schools. In 2017, representatives from Harvard University, the Council of Europe, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented. Intercultura Foundation (AFS Italy) sponsored this event.
The EFIL, European School Heads Association, French-German Youth Office and local schools launched the Intercultural Learning for Teachers and Pupils Project. The free online learning hub and training for 200 teachers in France, Belgium, Italy and Germany were funded by Erasmus+, an education, training, youth and sports program of the European Union.
AFS Czech Republic also received a significant grant from the European Social Fund to fund intercultural learning for educators.
School clubs were established in some AFS organizations to foster intercultural understanding beyond traditional exchanges. AFS Ghana celebrated the 50th anniversary of school clubs in their country in 2017. AFS Philippines introduced these clubs last year to promote the benefits of volunteering and studying abroad.
Partnering with GOVERNMENTS
More Government agencies and education ministries are turning to AFS to work directly with schools and districts. Last year, AFS Argentina and Uruguay facilitated 122 intercultural learning workshops for 3,000 students at schools where AFS students are placed. The Victoria Department of Education and Training contracted AFS Australia to deliver global competence trainings to students and teachers as part of the International Student Forum, as well as orientations for 150+ students and 20+ teachers in the Victorian Young Leaders to China program.
AFS Belgium Flanders helped 35 diplomats improve their personal intercultural communication skills, making them more confident to engage with diverse communities. The diplomats took the Sentio Global Competence Certificate program (GCC) for an online and in-person blended learning experience.
Collaborating with Universities
Universities are also requesting study abroad prep for students. In 2017, Purdue University signed a three-year partnership with the Sentio Global Education Network, a nonprofit subsidiary of AFS Intercultural Programs, to administer the Sentio GCC program. The partnership extends to collaborating on assessment tools and leveraging research to improve the program.