The 2020 AFS Global Conference is set to host the worldwide launch of the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 Global Competence Assessment, and explore their implications for educators, policymakers and other relevant education stakeholders. The Conference, which will take place from 21 to 22 October 2020 in Singapore, is organized in collaboration between AFS Intercultural Programs (AFS) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Pressing world challenges outlined in the UN Global Goals related to poverty, health, education and human rights require that we leverage our many differences to develop fair and just solutions. They also make it clear that teaching young people to understand one another and the world around them, as well as empowering them to contribute to more peaceful, inclusive and sustainable communities, is no longer optional for education systems. That is why global competence must be a part of curricula available to all learners worldwide. 

Global competence enables individuals to examine local, global and intercultural issues, understand and appreciate different perspectives and worldviews, interact successfully and respectfully with others, and take responsible action toward sustainability and collective well-being. Beyond numeracy, literacy and science, new methods of educating are needed to help students develop the combination of skills, knowledge, attitudes and values that make up global competence.

“The PISA 2018 global competency assessment helps the education community assess how well our schools enable young people to see the world from different perspectives, engage with different ways of thinking and appreciate different cultures. Such global competency is about building curiosity – opening minds, it’s about compassion –opening hearts, and it’s about courage, mobilising our cognitive, social and emotional resources to build a more human world. And that’s also our best weapon against the biggest threats of our times – ignorance – the closed mind, hate – the closed heart, and fear – the enemy of agency. AFS has been a longstanding protagonist of these values and it puts global competency into action each day. That’s why the OECD is delighted to collaborate with AFS around this agenda,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills.

The AFS Global Conference is a “must-attend” annual gathering for a growing, multi-sector and international coalition of stakeholders working to ensure global competence education is available to all learners worldwide. In 2020, it will gather high level education policymakers, civil society actors, academic experts, practitioners, and learners from 100 countries to explore how we can best move forward collaboratively to ensure that global competence is a key priority for education systems worldwide.

“Developing global skills to thrive in a diverse world must be a right for everyone around the world, not a privilege for the few. The AFS Global Conference is a powerful venue to define new solutions and celebrating innovative initiatives that empower young people with these global skills to  address the world’s greatest challenges. We are proud to collaborate with OECD for this year’s event in our joint quest for more intercultural understanding and more effective education programs that develop active global citizens,” adds Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs.

Building on the previous discussions at this event, the AFS Conference will provide deeper insights into the PISA’s first-ever assessment of global competence and its role for quality, equity, and effectiveness in education. PISA, the global yardstick for success in education, has been assessing the 15-year-old’s reading, math, and science skills worldwide since 2000.

AFS has been a long term champion of intercultural learning and partner supporting the OECD’s work on global competence; together they will lead this discussion on how global competence in 21st-century education can help prepare young people for participation in an inclusive and sustainable world. 

For more information about the Conference please visit and contact [email protected] or [email protected] with any questions.  

About AFS
AFS Intercultural Programs is a global not-for-profit Network that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. Each year more than 66,000 people take part in AFS educational programs in 60 countries worldwide. Our 12,000+ study abroad and exchange students are supported by over 50,000 volunteers, 8500 host families, and staff. Since its founding in 1914, AFS has exchanged more than 500,000 young people all around the world.

About OECD
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives. Our goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all. We draw on almost 60 years of experience and insights to better prepare the world of tomorrow. Together with governments, policymakers and citizens, we work on establishing international norms and finding evidence-based solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges. From improving economic performance and creating jobs to fostering strong education and fighting international tax evasion, we provide a unique forum and knowledge hub for data and analysis, exchange of experiences, best-practice sharing, and advice on public policies and global standard-setting.