by Lucas Welter, Chief Organizational Development & Strategy Officer, AFS Intercultural Programs
AFS has a vast potential for creating a positive change.
We know that from our alumni. Research shows that they recognize AFS programs helped them become active global citizens, ready to communicate and collaborate with people from different cultures and backgrounds, and eager to better understand challenges and issues facing the world. This is possible because of the AFS Theory of Change, which shows how we guide everyone who gets involved in AFS through immersive intercultural experiences, supported by intentional learning curricula, and opportunities to practice their social impact.
The global AFS volunteer force—50,000 strong—is one of our best assets to making a positive change in local communities. In addition to supporting our exchange programs and host families, AFS volunteers are learners. They are learners in various training programs that AFS offers on changemaking and social impact, they are facilitators of intercultural learning, and they are changemakers leading community projects and governing the future of AFS through local boards. It’s no surprise then that more than 90% of our volunteers find deep meaning in their volunteer work, and are committed to continue volunteering in the years to come.
We are proud that the Youth Assembly became a part of the AFS portfolio of programs. This powerful event will be our key platform for gathering young people interested in all levels of social change, enabling them to connect with each other, learn from experts, and scale their impact. We are thrilled that the Youth Assembly will be another opportunity to go on an AFS journey and experience lifelong learning—and learning for life.