AFS also recognizes other outstanding individuals and organizations for advancing intercultural understanding


October 31, 2019 — Luisa Fernanda Romero Munoz, co-founder of Get Up And Go Colombia, was awarded the first-ever 2019 AFS Prize for Young Global Citizens for advancing peacebuilding in her home country by converting former Colombian armed conflict zones into cultural tourism destinations. The AFS Prize recognizes one extraordinary young person for creating successful social initiatives that require collaboration across differences and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The winner received a US$10,000 cash prize.  

Developing active global citizens is a key impact goal of AFS Intercultural Programs, a global international education and volunteer organization with operations in 60 countries, powered by more than 50,000 volunteers worldwide. Each year, AFS honors exceptional active global citizens and the organizations that empower young people to make an impact on the world. 

Luisa Fernanda Romero Munoz, the inaugural winner of the AFS Prize for Young Global Citizens, is the Co-Founder and Project Manager of Get Up And Go Colombia, which fosters peacebuilding through tourism and education. This work directly addresses UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG #1: No Poverty.

Get Up And Go Colombia has impacted more than 20,000 people by helping residents develop transferable employment skills by learning English and working as tour guides, and supporting local businesses. Get Up and Go Columbia partners with government agencies reintegrating former combatants and providing support services for victims of the armed conflict. 

Luisa believes that diversity and inclusion are key for peacebuilding. “I want to inspire young people through tangible actions, teaching them how to connect, support and engage with each other to start making the change we want to see,” says Luisa.

“Luisa’s work to bring peace to Colombian communities and empower young people with tangible skills are truly inspiring,” said Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs. “The world needs more extraordinary young people who recognize the importance of diversity and are committed to improving their communities and the world.” 

The AFS Prize for Young Global Citizens was established in 2019 to recognize one young person under the age of 30 for outstanding efforts to bring together diverse people to tackle the pressing challenges outlined by the UN SDGs. The winner receives a cash prize of US$10,000 to continue their work and will go on collaborating with AFS to advance intercultural understanding. This year’s winner was selected by a distinguished prize jury among more than 450 nominations from 80 countries. The Prize is made possible by a generous alumni donor. Find out more about the Prize here.


In 2019, AFS also recognized three projects and organizations that educates and supports active global citizens: Asia Kakehashi Project (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan); Collège Saint-Jean Vianney (Montreal, Canada) and Chatterbox (United Kingdom). 

AFS Global Award for Innovation in Global Education for a School

The Collège Saint-Jean Vianney was honored for helping students from kindergarten through secondary school to become active global citizens. This includes celebrating differences, cultivating self-awareness, cultural immersion trips, encouraging volunteerism and fostering global skills. Éric Deguire is the General Director of Collège Saint-Jean Vianney. 

AFS Global Award for Innovation in Global Education for an Organization

Chatterbox received this award for providing an innovative way for refugee professionals to  make a fresh start in their new home country and rebuild their professional identities. Chatterbox hires expert refugee coaches to deliver award-winning tailored online language learning services for individuals, universities and organizations. Mursal Hedayat, an award-winning entrepreneur and former refugee to the UK from Afghanistan, launched Chatterbox after seeing her accomplished family struggle to regain employment after forcible displacement. Co-founder and COO, Guillemette Dejean, is responsible for crafting the Chatterbox learning experience.

AFS Special Honorary Recognition

The Asia Kakehashi Project, sponsored by the  Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan, was recognized for supporting student and teacher exchanges to help internationalize Japanese schools and prepare Asian youth to thrive in a globalized world. This program provides an important opportunity to foster global competence and intercultural understanding in young people and is a sign that national governments see a need in investing in preparing their youth for living and working in an increasingly diverse world. The Kakehashi Project (Japanese for “building bridges”) will provide full scholarships to 1,000 Asian students to study in Japan’s high schools between 2018 and 2023.