AFS Intercultural Programs is honored to receive Diversity Abroad’s 2022 Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education (EDIIE) Award in the category of Outreach, Marketing & Recruitment.

This prestigious award was presented to AFS in recognition of the AFS Global STEM Accelerators program, acknowledging strategic, thoughtful, and inclusive outreach practices to ensure young women and refugees gain equitable access to STEM and international education. Through a full-scholarship immersive virtual exchange program, Accelerators scholars develop critical technical competencies, like digital skills, design thinking, and data literacy, paired with global competencies, like emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and teamwork, in global cohorts. The program also provides internet and technical support for users in need. Ensuring inclusive and equitable practices throughout the program is fully aligned with AFS’s mission: to provide intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.

Women and girls who seek to advance their STEM education have long faced incredible challenges, from pressing human rights issues and inequitable access to education, to gender-based discrimination and sexism. At the same time, surging populations of refugees, displaced and stateless persons around the world rarely have access to international education, even though it can be a powerful tool to broaden opportunities for marginalized groups. In its inaugural year, the AFS Global STEM Accelerators scholarships were awarded to 180 young women from 61 countries that reflect the diversity and inclusivity the program seeks to uplift:

  • 20% of recipients identify as refugees or from displaced communities
  • 82% of recipients identify as People of Color
  • 51% of recipients come from low-income households
  • 10% will be the first in their families to graduate from high school

“Each year, Diversity Abroad recognizes institutions, organizations, and individuals implementing strategies that tackle underlying inequities in global education and striving to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of global education. We congratulate the 2022 EDIIE Award recipients for their tireless efforts to advance access to and sense of belonging in global education for the students they serve,” says Lily Lopez-McGee, Executive Director of Diversity Abroad, the network organization that inspires and supports educators and practitioners in leveraging global educational programs to support students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. AFS has been a member of Diversity Abroad since 2020.

“AFS is energized and committed to make education more accessible for marginalized young people worldwide. Through collaboration with our global network of organizations and volunteers, our funder bp, and our colleagues at SPARK, we will continue to make the Accelerators accessible to young people that are often excluded from these opportunities, and who need them the most. It’s encouraging to hear from the scholars directly how much this opportunity has impacted them already. With their passion, perseverance, and the skills they are developing, they are sure to become future innovators and changemakers,” said Sean Reilly, Director of Program Development, AFS Intercultural Programs, receiving the award during the EDIIE Awards Gala at Global Inclusion 2022 in San Francisco, the 10th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference.

Applications for the next round of Global STEM Programs in 2023 are set to open on November 15, 2022.