What will the AFS Network achieve in the next 5 years? That was the question on the mind of the 100+ leaders of AFS Network Organizations and Global Affiliates who gathered at the 2023 AFS Network Meeting in New Delhi, India from October 20 to 22. The Network Meeting was organized with the excellent support of AFS India staff and volunteers.

The AFS Network Meeting  is a pivotal event that brings together AFS Board Members, Partner Directors, and key staff to reflect on the organization’s achievements and to establish direction and priorities for the year – and years – ahead.

The AFS Network Meeting focused on active global citizenship through an AFS lens by:

  • Defining active global citizenship: an engaging panel of young leaders and AFS alumni shared their encouragement for AFS to collaborate with institutions across sectors, empower young people to advance causes they are most passionate about, and lead by example
  • Exploring how AFS creates active global citizens, through the newly launched AFS Educational Framework that will be made available to the public in November 2023
  • Discussing how the global AFS Network will focus and make progress in next years, based on a  refreshed strategy that will guide us through 2028
  • Sharing and learning from each other. The AFS Network covers 55 countries and is incredibly diverse. Through sessions on our in-person and virtual programs, strengthening our educational approach, enhancing our volunteer networks, fundraising, alumni relations, and digital infrastructure, Partners spread best practices and innovative ideas.

Since the last AFS Network Meeting, the world has experienced incredible turmoil. Increased conflict and polarization make  the AFS mission to create a more just and peaceful world through intercultural understanding urgent and relevant. The AFS leaders took a minute of silence for the victims in the war between Israel and Hamas and reconfirmed that AFS always stands on the side of peace.

At the same time, the world is racing to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which create actions in local communities and the world. We’re now only 7 short years from the conclusion of the global 2030 Agenda, which brings an additional urgency for such actions. That’s why AFS is focused on creating active global citizens, who are informed by intercultural understanding and ability to work together, and willing to take action in their communities.

At the very end of the meeting, Shirley Webb-Speight, our Partner Director from AFS New Zealand shared a Maori whakatauki or wisdom with the assembled leadership: “Ki te kotahi te kakaho ka whati, ki te kapuia e kore e whati / Alone we can be broken. Standing together, we are invincible.” The Leaders of the AFS Network stand together in our commitment to the  AFS mission of creating a more just and peaceful world.