AFS Intercultural Programs is establishing a Global Leadership Council to accelerate the development of the AFS Youth Assembly, an initiative of AFS Intercultural Programs, a leading global not-for-profit organization that has been advancing intercultural understanding and global citizenship for 105 years in order to create a more just and peaceful world.

Since its launch in 2004, the Youth Assembly has been one of the foremost global platforms of young leaders, changemakers, social entrepreneurs, and champions of sustainable development. At the Assembly, young people have access to tools, knowledge, and skills to create action-oriented solutions that help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Most importantly, the Youth Assembly cultivates an international network for like-minded young leaders across national boundaries and professional disciplines.

The inaugural members of the Global Leadership Council are:

  • Helmut Schuster (Chair) – Chairman of Ivoclar; Co-Founder, Chirimoya; AFS Trustee
  • Jackie Chimhanzi – Chief Executive Officer, African Leadership Institute
  • Kerry Dryburgh – Executive Vice President, People and Culture and Chief People Officer, bp plc
  • Anand Verma – Founder and CEO, Expect (Climate Action Platform) and Co-founder of Regenerative Alliance
  • Daniel Obst – President and CEO, AFS Intercultural Programs

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The Global Leadership Council will play a pivotal role in shaping the future direction of the AFS Youth Assembly as a global platform and help accelerate the development of the Youth Assembly into a global movement of thousands of young leaders, ensuring that they are empowered to take action and create positive impact in communities worldwide.

The United Nations has identified five “megatrends” that will shape our world over the course of this century: climate change and nature degradation, inequalities, urbanization, rapid population changes and technological revolution. With 1.2 billion people aged 15-24 years, accounting for 16% of the world population, young people must be the center of the social change needed to address these challenges. Young leaders also expect business to drive change and contribute to a better world.

Earlier this year, AFS also established a Youth Advisory Council, comprising eight outstanding young leaders who represent youth voices from their respective regions at the global stage. These passionate individuals are committed to sustainable development and play a crucial role in advising the Youth Assembly organizing team on various aspects of the conference, including program development, agenda setting, and recommendations for engaging youth in action and impact.

The Youth Assembly annual conference gathers about 1,000 of the world’s most dynamic young people, ages 18-32, from over 100 countries. All of them demonstrate a proven ambition to transform their vision for a better future into action to create better societies. More than 20,000 young leaders have participated in the Youth Assembly since its inception.

The 28th Session of The Youth Assembly, themed “Breakthrough to a Better Future,” will take place from August 11-13, 2023, in New York City. This year’s partners include the United Nations, World Bank, Teach For All, bp, USAID, New York University, University of Pennsylvania Center for Social Impact Strategy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The PIE News, Diplomatic Courier, the Permanent Mission of Malta to the United Nations, and many others.

For more information and to attend, visit