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AFS Global Competence Certificate

AFS Global Competence Certificate is a blended learning program that develops tangible global skills essential to live, work, and make a real social impact around the world. It is a scalable, flexible, global, easy-to-use, and research-based tool. Explore our suite of products.

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AFS Effect+ Program

AFS Effect+ Program are customizable, interactive workshops that introduce young people to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they can work together to help advance these goals in their communities.

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AFS Global Conference

The virtual AFS Global Conference hosted the worldwide launch of the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Global Competence Assessment and explored their implications for students, educators, policymakers and other education stakeholders (22-23 October 2020).

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Our educational methodology: How we help students become global citizens

AFS helps students, families, volunteers, staff and all people it touches develop the 21st century intercultural skills, knowledge and understanding needed to become active global citizens and create positive change for a more just and peaceful world.

AFS offers a transformative learning journey: This illustration demonstrates how AFS students perceive and think about the world and how this perception evolves over time as they go through the different phases of the intercultural experience. Students start the journey with a specific set of values and beliefs (BEFORE), which expand as they face a new culture with its own particular set of values (DURING). The students’ world views keep transforming when they return home (AFTER) and begin integrating what they’ve learned with what they already believed. This final process helps students develop a more complex and critical way of thinking and perceiving the world.

  • Transformative
  • Goal-based
  • Combines immersive experiences with structured learning
  • Non-formal (a complement to the classroom)
  • Experiential
  • Lifelong

These principles guide the AFS Student Learning Journey in which student participants work toward the AFS Educational Goals in a progressive, developmentally designed manner to become interculturally competent, responsible global citizens and agents of positive social change.

AFS believes that intercultural challenges and learning moments are inevitable parts of our everyday lives, our classrooms and public spaces. To prepare students to engage effectively across cultural and other differences, we take our young participants on a transformative learning journey. Through our programs and other offerings, we help participants:

  • Learn firsthand about the impact of culture on values and the decisions
    they make,
  • Gain the ability to better see themselves through the eyes of others
  • Challenge assumptions,
  • Broaden their views on cultural stereotypes and global issues,
  • Begin to understand how to shift perspectives effectively, appropriately and

Intercultural education reinforces 21st century education goals

We educate global citizens and the world leaders of tomorrow, and help them to:

Broaden perspectives

about themselves and the world around them


Learn and respect differences

and believe a diverse world is a stronger and more interesting place


Communicate and collaborate across cultures

in a sensitive and mindful way


Appreciate other cultures

and encourage others to be open to new ideas, attitudes and traditions


Build skills to use in STEM and other key areas

by using critical thinking and problem solving activities


Become part of the AFS global community

to build bridges across cultures and bring diverse communities together

We need more young people to solve world problems

“There is a real urgency to provide opportunities to all young people to engage with the unfamiliar, appreciate and respect differences, and use the knowledge gained from understanding cultural differences to find and act on solutions for the problems in the world.”

Dr. Vishakha Desai, AFS Board Chair, speaking at the WISE Innovation Summit (Qatar, 2017)

AFS Alliances & Partnerships

“There is a clear relevance of AFS’ work to the current programs and activities of UNESCO, particularly in the fields of education, youth, and intercultural dialogue. Indeed, cooperation between UNESCO and AFS has a solid foundation based on many areas of common interest, synergies and previous collaborations.”

—Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO

AFS has official recognition by Ministries of Education in 24 countries


As of 2015, AFS is proud to have entered into a “consultative status” partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This status enables both organizations to collaborate on initiatives of mutual interest and social good.

AFS works closely and creatively with schools, universities, humanitarian and peace groups, governments and other NGOs on the issues that reflect our mission.

Go to UNESCO's Global Citizenship Education site

AFS Global Citizenship Education Agenda supports

UN Sustainable Development Goal #4

Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning  

Specifically, Goal #4 focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to promote “sustainable development” and “sustainable lifestyles,” human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.

Learn more about Goal #4

Latest education blogs and articles

  1. Educación ALEI-01 copy

    Empowering Latin American Teachers to Deliver Global Education

    Educators and schools have long been demanding effective intercultural learning programs and tools that will support them in building global competence in their students. To address these growing demands, the…
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    Adapting Cultural Learning to a Virtual Setting

    As colleges and universities around the globe work to adapt to their institution’s needs, the Covid-19 crisis has illuminated some new opportunities. Augsburg University, a renowned cultural and social justice…
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    PISA shows Teacher Attitudes, Activities In- and Outside Classrooms Impact Student Global-mindedness

    In upending education systems worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic shines a stark light on how necessary it is for young people to be able to navigate interconnected, interdependent realities. The newest…
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    AFS and UPenn Partner to Empower Young People to Change the World

    Young people all over the world are calling for change – but do they have the skills they need to create the change they want to see? Last month, AFS…
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    Education New Zealand Endorses the AFS Global Competence Certificate

    AFS Intercultural Programs is proud to partner with Education New Zealand (ENZ) to deliver a customized version of the AFS Global Competence Certificate (GCC): an award-winning program that develops tangible…
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    AFS Holds a Successful Ibero-American Week of Global Education

    Under the theme of: Globalize, Connect, Transform, 6,000 participants from Latin America and Europe met last week to debate the present and future of education.    From June 1 to…

AFS Now: Insights for Active Global Citizens

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