We are proud to present the latest issue of Connect: Intercultural Insights for Global Citizens, the digital publication of AFS Intercultural Programs which focuses on intercultural and global citizenship education, voluntarism and social impact within the AFS global network and beyond. This issue of the Connect looks into how social impact is made and put into action in a meaningful way.
In this issue, we do some reflection of our own on opportunities and demand for each of us to make our impact on our community, and for AFS to continue — in new and more ways — to put our mission of peace and justice into action.
We take the chance to look back through some of the most prized 2015 AFS initiatives that showcase what our organizations around the world are doing to positively impact their local community. We call this initiative Intercultural Learning in Our Own Backyard, and are proud to present the four winning projects — and how they were relevant, sustainable, innovative and impactful for their communities. Also, this issue features two awards presented to the projects of deserving AFS volunteers — for social impact and organizational innovation. Find out all about the AFS #ChangeMakers Awards here.
We are also not shying away from difficult questions and finding the right tools to ask them. We asked ourselves and now we ask you: Are you prejudiced? Before you answer, read this article and take a short test to challenge your perceptions. We bring you the mechanics and science behind how prejudice is dispelled and would like to hear your reactions to your results.
Next, the newly announced UN Global Goals inspired us to sit down with two renowned figures in their respective fields: Sibyl Anwander discusses sustainability and J. Brian Atwood talks about international development. Both are also members of the International Board of Trustees of AFS Intercultural Programs. They tell us all about the recent changes in their fields and what we can expect looking ahead. Global citizens will find some encouraging but demanding messages in the words of our interviewees: true social impact requires that we collaborate and spread the spirit of appreciation for the diversity of cultures. Read more here and share with us these message mean for for as a global citizen?
There is no shortage of AFS projects and programs designed to help make positive changes: “Together” is the key word we found for the AFS intra-African exchange program Sawa Sawa. Find out how changemaking and entrepreneurship are shaped by and shaping volunteer communities in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa and what’s ahead this year.
Cooperation between schools, educators and AFS to advance global citizenship education is growing to a new level: Learn about our new Educator & School Relations Project designed to strengthen these ties, as well as our active participation in educational conferences around the world.
Last but not least, for a volunteer-driven educational organization like AFS, it is very important to see positive change and impact happen among our volunteers of all ages. AFS Volunteer Voices is a new platform for sharing and taking action on pressing issues important to our volunteers, especially but not only the younger generation of AFSers. This is where you can find out how AFSers in Turkey are travelling to the most remote and underprivileged parts of the country to make a positive impact on the local community, as well as many other education initiatives.
As you uphold your commitment to bring about positive change around you, don’t forget to let us and other AFSers know. Tweet us @AFS or comment on Facebook to share what your social impact project for this year is. Are you more of a visual person? Tag your social impact photos with #AFSeffect to make sure the whole community sees them on Instagram.