AFS Intercultural Programs is pleased to announce the release of the Framework for Active Global Citizenship, focused on fostering the abilities needed for navigating a globally interconnected society and contributing purposefully to the relevant issues of our time. 

The Framework is central to the new global AFS Network Strategy, reflecting the organization’s reinforced commitment to developing active global citizens and driving positive change worldwide. It represents more than a set of guidelines for AFS: It is a tool that can be used by any organization dedicated to global citizenship education.

In today’s world, it’s vital to educate students to act as well-informed, empathetic, and accountable global citizens. The challenges confronted worldwide—like global conflicts, climate change, inequalities and misinformation—require individuals who are able to understand, engage with, and address global issues. The AFS Framework addresses that urgent need directly, by enabling educators to foster active global citizens to create a more equitable and sustainable future.

Global challenges require a new approach to educating and preparing future generations. We know that young people want to be better equipped with the knowledge and opportunities to connect across differences and make a change in the world. We know that educators are eager to foster such competences as well. That’s why we are certain that the AFS Framework comes at the right time to bridge those gaps and develop more active global citizens worldwide,” said Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs.

Download the White Paper

Watch the virtual launch event of the new AFS Framework for Active Global Citizenship. Through a combination of expert-led presentations and interactive discussions, the event showcased how to leverage the AFS Framework to develop active global citizens in their local contexts. Panelists included:

  • Daniel Obst, President & CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs
  • Veronica Boix-Mansilla, Principal Investigator at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Eloise Dolan, Strategic Advisor to Southeast Asia for the Victorian Government
  • Carla Rey Vasquez, Director of Scholarships at Education New Zealand
  • Priya Joshi, Senior Researcher for the Global Education Monitoring Report at UNESCO
  • Sarah-Louise Jones, Reader in Global Education at the University of Hull


The AFS Framework for Active Global Citizenship provides a comprehensive definition and guide for fostering abilities crucial for active global citizenship. According to the framework, active global citizens are people whose informed, compassionate, and ethical compass drives them to lead lives and make decisions that contribute to a more just, equitable, peaceful and sustainable world.

The framework emphasizes four core areas of development crucial for active global citizenship:

  • Value & belong to a common and diverse world: Active global citizens know themselves and see themselves as belonging to a common and diverse world for which they care, responsibly committing to uphold values of human dignity and diversity.
  • Inquire critically about the world beyond immediate environments: Active global citizens inquire critically about local, global and intercultural issues beyond their immediate environments, showing curiosity to manage information from reliable sources and being critical of how information is used.
  • Understand and relate to others across differences: Active global citizens engage in understanding and relating to others across differences, being able to take perspective with empathy and compassion, and committing to dialogue and respect.
  • Take action toward collective well-being: Active global citizens are committed to taking action, considering local and global challenges, and oftentimes working with others, to put into practice informed, ethical, and reflective actions (from small personal ones to collective community-level ones) that contribute toward a more just, equitable, peaceful and sustainable world.

With this new educational framework, AFS reaffirms its educational role in alignment with the core goals of education for the 21st century,” said AFS President and CEO Daniel Obst. “As outlined by UNESCO, education today is not only about imparting knowledge but about helping people develop a dependable sense of direction and equipping them with the capacities to navigate with confidence through an increasingly complex, volatile and uncertain world. This framework is also AFS’s contribution to the international education field and other educational organizations – formal and non-formal – that seek to develop active global citizens.”

AFS worked with renowned expert in the field of global citizenship education Veronica Boix-Mansilla (Principal Investigator at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education) and a committee of educational experts. The framework aligns with global education goals outlined by UNESCO, OECD, and other leading organizations.

As AFS embarks on this transformative journey, stakeholders, partners, and the global community are invited to join in shaping a future of active global citizenship and positive global impact.

Find out more about the new AFS Framework for Active Global Citizenship. 

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For media inquiries and further information, please contact Nicole Lebenson Angulo, Deputy Chief Organizational Development Officer at AFS Intercultural Programs.

About AFS:

AFS began in 1915 as the American Ambulance Field Service, a volunteer humanitarian service in the First and Second World Wars. In between the wars, AFS offered a university scholarship exchange program for students in the United States and France. In 1946, the AFS volunteer ambulance drivers founded a secondary school student exchange program intended to perpetuate international friendships and volunteerism in peacetime.

Since then, AFS has sent more than 500,000 young people on exchanges all around the world. Each year more than 12,000 young people go abroad on AFS programs, supported by 35,000 AFS volunteers, thousands of host families, and a dedicated core of 1,000 staff members at our global network of  national AFS organizations and offices in 55 countries around the world.

Learn more by visiting, reading our most recent annual report.