Flexibility in Training Design and Delivery: Summer Academy Experience in Istanbul

The following blog post is contributed by our fellow AFSer, Omer Ongun. Omer went on an exchange to USA in 2003 with AFS and since then has been a volunteer, volunteer trainer and project coordinator in AFS Turkey. After finishing college in business administration, with a great inspiration from AFS, he chose the intercultural learning field and intercultural competence as his area of profession. He is currently a graduate student at Galatasaray University, doing a research in understanding mobility programs as cultural diplomacy tools and developing a better mutual understanding of diverse groups in Turkey through cultural exchanges. Omer is also a folk/contemporary dancer of various cultures in Anatolia. He practices body music and dance too, trying to experience body music in different folk cultures throughout the world.

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For the second year in a row, I was honored to be a trainer at the Summer Academy on Sustainability from an Intercultural Perspective which took place in Istanbul in July 2014. The Academy is organized by four partners from Germany and Turkey, InterCultur (subsidy of AFS Germany) and Karlshochschule International University as well as AFS Turkey and Istanbul Kültür University, in cooperation with Stiftung Mercator, one of Germany’s largest foundations. The Academy focuses on the intercultural perspective of international energy politics, environmental ethics and further ecological issues.

The model brings together lecturers from formal academic world and trainers from non-formal learning environments. The atmosphere itself deserves another long blog post but for now I will concentrate on the training experience I had with my co-trainer Laura Armborst from AFS Germany. As usual, long Skype calls, email exchanges and prep days were behind us on the first day of the Academy. We had designed three-hour sessions for four days to be delivered in one week. Though trainers generally receive the list of participants and further information on the group profile and their knowledge level of the subject beforehand, you never really know until the first day what kind of a group you will be working with.

To avoid concentrating on one learning style only, our design included various methodologies for each day. At the end of the first day, we already knew we needed to make some adjustments to the design for the following days. Our group of 18 university students turned out to be very bodily-kinesthetic learners and we were very aware of their expectations: interactive, physical and visual activities. As soon as “lecturing” or “presenting” methodologies were used, we had the risk of “losing” the group.  It is quite important to increase interactivity and the sharing aspect of non-formal learning to avoid “learner-teacher” distance. It is also highly essential in non-formal learning to give participants a chance to stand up, speak and/or present in order to maximize the learning, increase the participation and ownership of the training. This is how we rearranged or highlighted the design:

  • Each day started with an energizer that would focus on increasing the group feeling and group spirit. The participants loved learning a folk Turkish dance which was actually an energizer after a long morning lecture and before a long training afternoon.
  • On day one, we created all the rules together and called them “norms”. Since all the norms were created and agreed upon collectively, it was much easier to remind participants who would forget them through the week :)
  • There was a board in the workshop room on which participants could write open questions or topics that would arise during the sessions, breaks or evenings. At the end of each day, we looked back at them all together.
  • Each participant felt free to play their music during breaks.
  • We used participants first names to show we really try to address them and that we were interested in getting to know them. In some groups this might be found disrespectful so it is highly important to check during the group norms how comfortable the group would be.
  • For the daily reflections, we tried a variety of tools and means such as balls, postcards, music or movement to increase the creativity and promote other ways of reflection then just speech.
  • Instead of standing up in front of the group, trainers usually preferred sitting with participants in a circle and decreasing the visual image of the “powerful” trainer or educator.
  • We increased active/interactive methodologies. e.g. nonverbal communication elements were supposed to be understood through individual case studies though later we asked participants to work in groups and prepare a sketch for each nonverbal communication dimension and later they reflected this activity with great positive feelings.

After all, it is still a challenge for any trainer to design a training non-formal learning. We can feel satisfied creating the link with the aims, objectives or general concepts but how flexible are we when the group profile seems much more different than what we expected? This seems to be an exciting challenge for innovative trainers.

Global Citizenship Education – Preparing Learners for the Challenges of the 21st Century

“We must foster global citizenship. Education is about more than literacy and numeracy. It is also about citizenry. Education must fully assume its essential role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful and tolerant societies.”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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Global Citizenship Education (GCE) demonstrates how education can develop the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes learners need for securing a world which is more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable. UNESCO has recently published a document entitled Global Citizenship Education – Preparing Learners for the Challenges of the 21st Century, which explores conditions for the promotion and implementation of global citizenship education, including universal values, transformative pedagogy and youth-led initiatives.The goal of this publication is to:

  • Improve the understanding of GCE as an educational approach, and its implications for education content, pedagogies and approaches;
  • Identify innovative approaches and good practices in GCE globally; and
  • Share lessons learned and pathways to scaling up GCE.

There are different approaches to global citizenship education, including both formal and informal. In formal settings, GCE can be delivered as an integral part of an existing subject or as an independent subject area, while the application in informal settings includes the use of information and communication technologies and social media, sport competitions and the use of art and music, and youth-led initiatives.

The universal values and skills promoted by GCE directly overlap with what AFS stands for and its Educational Goals: developing certain skills, such as critical thinking, empathy and the ability to shift cultural perspectives, as well as having an understanding of global and local issues and striving for justice.

How can you incorporate the values of global citizenship in your community?

First Thiagi Publication on Interactive Trainings in German

AFS is proud to announce that InterCultur (subsidiary of AFS Germany) is the co-author of the first German publication with Thiagi’s interactive training methods. Thiagi is one of the most innovative game designers whose interactive trainings are performance-based, motivating and effective. He designs leadership, soft-skills, and technical training for corporate clients and conducts training in classroom and online environments.

Thiagi was a speaker at last year’s AFS Academy, an AFSers-only training event in Florence, Italy in November 2013. He has published more than 50 books so far, but to date none of them in German.

For this publication a cooperation which included Thiagi’s Swiss business partner Samuel van den Bergh and the German Metal Worker Union (IGM) (which is a long term partner for InterCultur in intercultural trainings) was formed. InterCultur was presented by Annette Gisevius, Head of Training at InterCultur and Director of Intercultural Learning at AFS Germany.

In a one-year process Thiagi’s exercises were translated and adapted to be used in intercultural and political contexts. InterCultur provided the intercultural content for Thiagi’s frame games and contributed some of its own exercises.

On 28 June, the new book was first presented at a trainers meeting of the IGM where 180 people gathered to attend a workshop run by Thiagi and Samuel van den Bergh.

The book can be ordered at: http://www.wochenschau-verlag.de/interaktive-trainingsmethoden.html.

photo credit: Tiago Phelipe

One Step Forward: China Advanced in Educator Training on Program Development and Intercultural Learning

The following blog post is contributed by our fellow AFSer, Margaret Yang Zhao. Margaret is the ICL Responsible and Volunteer Development Supervisor at AFS China, and a candidate for the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program International Qualified Trainer. She was an exchange student to Japan and holds a Master degree in Intercultural Communication at Communication University of China. She facilitates intercultural trainings for target groups of volunteers of all ages with a focus on cultural awareness, cultural adaptation and cultural values in non-formal education settings. We thank Margaret for her contribution, and hope you enjoy her post!

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The first ever Educator Training Workshop on Program Development and Intercultural Learning took place in Beijing, China from 12 to 15 June 2014. Organized by the Volunteer Committee for Intercultural Education (AFS China), this workshop successfully brought together 17 volunteers from all over China who work as educators at different academic levels.

During the workshop, participants learned about the vision and mission of AFS, got to know the support structure, discussed topics on how to embed intercultural learning into program development and together designed materials/curriculums for future training and marketing.

To make the workshop a new experience for these educators, the prep team put lots of effort into details: (1) A pre-workshop online survey was delivered to collect expectations and demands of participants so that adjustments could be done in time; in addition to that, this also gave us some hints about the state of volunteer (intercultural) training in China. (2) Every participant was asked to bring one or two kinds of local snacks to exchange, which gave them a chance to learn about each other’s regional food culture. (3) Western and Chinese flavors were served on different days to help participants better understand cultural differences between west and east: Pizzas were ordered on the first day and dumplings on the last.

The workshop had four main sessions:

  • Me and AFS
  • Linking intercultural learning with AFS realities
  • New materials for marketing and branding
  • School Relations

These educators shared a common feeling that AFS is more than an exchange organization; it has stepped out firmly in making itself an educational organization that offers intercultural learning opportunities to better connect the world. They had the chance to get acquainted with the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program, a multi-step training and assessment program designed to further develop intercultural learning facilitation competencies for AFS volunteer and staff worldwide. They also discussed the volunteer development strategy together with staff members of AFS. Given their professional backgrounds, worked very hard on developing training materials and introducing many different approaches that work effectively on strengthening school relations.

We hope that the participants of this training will act as task forces in promoting AFS in non-formal education settings in order to spread the name of it as much as possible.

Advancing Global Citizenship Education

What are the the skills and values necessary for being an effective citizen of the world and how can we measure if worldwide educational systems are helping students develop them? Motivated by the challenges of low learning levels and a global data gap on learning, 30 organizations have joined efforts with the ultimate goal of improving learning experiences for young people around the world. They will tackle these issues through The Learning Metrics Task Force 2.0 convened by UNESCO, the Center for Universal Education (Brookings Institution), and the UN Global Education First Initiative: Youth Advocacy Group. We are proud to announce that Melissa Liles, Chief Education Officer for AFS Intercultural Programs, has been appointed to the Global Citizenship Education stream of this task force and will actively take part in its work.

The Learning Metrics Task Force 1.0 already worked on the issue of how to measure global learning and get data about the quality of education on the international level. Its goal was to advocate that mere access to education is not enough, and that it should be complemented by good quality learning. The recommendations presented in its first report entitled Toward Universal Learning: What Every Child Should Learn provide a framework for what knowledge and competences should be obtained in primary education. Through a consultative process, the first task force decided to select an initial number of global learning indicators and will continue its work through an even more comprehensive group of experts.

The goal of The Learning Metrics Task Force 2.0 is to improve the assessment systems of learning at country level in order to better understand the global learning crisis and to provide for the better use of data obtained. The main issues for the task force working on the global citizenship education stream will be to answer the following questions:

  • Are there a small number of core Global Citizenship Education (GCE) competencies that are relevant in all countries?
  • If so, what are some options for how they can they be measured to improve learning and track progress globally?
  • How do we ensure education systems and programs foster and integrate GCE curricula and instructional practices?

AFS’s involvement in the task force is in line with our mission to provide and support intercultural learning globally. With 100 years of experience in working towards global understanding, AFS continues to facilitate global citizenship education (learn more on our website: centennial.afs.org). The AFS exchange experience – including the many volunteer opportunities afterwards – deepens participants’ insights into and knowledge about the strengths and weaknesses of their home and other cultures. This way, they become more aware of global issues and employ culturally sensitive and cooperative approaches to problem solving. As an educational organization dedicated to creating global citizens, AFS plans to collect and provide input from its member organizations from around the world as part of its contributions to the group.

Share, Learn and Collaborate: Seminar on Intercultural and Global Citizenship

The following blog post is contributed by our fellow AFSer, Omer Ongun. Omer went on an exchange to USA in 2003 with AFS and since then has been a volunteer, volunteer trainer and project coordinator in AFS Turkey. After finishing college in business administration, with a great inspiration from AFS, he chose the intercultural learning field and intercultural competence as his area of profession. He is currently a graduate student at Galatasaray University, doing a research in understanding mobility programs as cultural diplomacy tools and developing a better mutual understanding of diverse groups in Turkey through cultural exchanges. Omer is also a folk/contemporary dancer of various cultures in Anatolia. He practices body music and dance too, trying to experience body music in different folk cultures throughout the world.

Seminar on Intercultural and Global Citizenship took place in Hamburg, Germany from 4 to 8 June, 2014. Organized collaboratively by the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL - the umbrella organization for AFS in Europe), CISV International, European Educational Exchanges – Youth for Understanding (EEE-YFU) and the Federation of the Experiment in International Living, this seminar was the first and unique attempt to bring together 60 volunteers, staff, trainers and board members from four different intercultural exchange programs: AFS, YFU, CISV and EXPERIMENT.

Participants got to know each other, learned about the structures in each organization, shared common visions and missions, discussed various topics and designed projects for future collaborations and, of course, had lots of fun all together!

The seminar had four main tracks:

  • Advocacy and Partnership
  • Leadership and Participation
  • Training
  • Educational Resources

In each track, the main goals were to understand how each organization managed those areas and how possible future projects could be designed and implemented. At the end of the seminar, representatives of each track presented their project ideas and received feedback from the rest of the group. A detailed report will be published and delivered soon to all the networks of the organizations.

Seminar participants also decided to start an informal and practical platform to share educational resources, events, announcements and invitations across AFS, CISV, YFU and EXPERIMENT and related interested parties. You can join now here, but please bear in mind the main purpose of the group and the organizations’ missions and rules on social media.

These gatherings and joint seminars are highly valuable due to the potential they bear. Living in a world of growing conflicts, wars and disputes, it is very important for peace and dialogue supporters to come and work together no matter what organization they work or volunteer for. The Seminar on Intercultural and Global Citizenship was significant for AFS as a great step in building solidarity and collaboration among non-profit, intercultural learning focused organizations towards building a more peaceful and fair world for all.

Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication – Coming up soon!

The 2014 Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) is almost here!  From 14 to 25 July, top educators and professionals in the field of intercultural communication will gather in Portland, Oregon, USA, to explore the field and network with others in a stimulating and supportive environment.  Run by longtime AFS supporter Dr. Janet Bennett, this favorite annual event offers multiple workshops and tracks and represents an excellent professional development opportunity for people working in education, training, business, and consulting, in both international and domestic intercultural contexts.

This year, AFS Intercultural Programs is proud to be a part of the lineup offering a new course called What Every Person Should Know about Intercultural Learning at what has been called an “intellectual summer camp for adults.” This workshop allows you to take part in a basic intercultural learning training course to re-familiarize yourself with the essentials. It will also help you learn how to deliver this same training to others, adjusting relevant portions for your own professional settings. There will be a total of 20 AFS-SIIC scholars representing the AFS network at SIIC this year. These scholars are coming from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Germany, Ghana, Malaysia, Turkey and USA and they are committed to integrating their SIIC experiences with further engagement with key AFS network intercultural learning projects.

Past AFS-SIIC scholars speak highly of their time at SIIC and they have this to say:

Fernanda Mayumi Ogasawara from AFS Brazil said, ”The experience of attending the SIIC 2013 was absolutely amazing. Being able not only to do the workshops but also get to know a lot of professionals was a blessing. I am so thankful for the opportunity that AFS has given me. Attending SIIC was a highlight of 2013 for me!

Mariam Fayez from AFS Egypt also echoes these sentiments by saying, ”For me this intensive experience was an eye opener and an energizer, I started to get a better understanding that every issue has many diverse perspectives. This was a signal for me for further quest for knowledge, I went home charged and motivated to learn more, and started engaging in deeper associations in the subject matters.

To register or get more information, visit the SIIC website: http://www.intercultural.org/siic.php.

Italy through the eyes of an AFS exchange student

The following blog post is written by our fellow AFSer, Sara Redeghieri. Sara participated in the AFS exchange program in 2010/2011, going from Italy to the USA. She volunteered with AFS Italy (Intercultura) at her local chapter of Reggio Emilia and in some national events. Now she studies Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College in USA where she has her radio show “The Spaghetti Incident” where she plays music from different parts of the world. We would like to than Sara for contributing this post both in English and Italian, and hope you enjoy reading it!

Photo credit: Intercultura

Earlier this month the 14th edition of the photography contest “Cosi` vedo l’Italia”, (That’s how I see Italy), has concluded. This is a photographic contest that the AFS Italy (Intercultura Italia) local chapter of Ivrea in the northwest region of Piemonte in Italy organizes for all the AFS exchange students that are being hosted in the country.

The prompt of the photographic challenge is for the students to portray Italy as they see it with their eyes in the everyday life, the habits, the landscapes and everything that is characteristic to them as something Italian.

The winners of the contest are then hosted in the city of Ivrea and participate in various activities like a photography workshop, attend an award ceremony and go and spend a day in an elementary and middle school where they answer the questions of the kids about their pictures, but also share information about their cultures and home countries.

This is a wonderful occasion for the students to challenge themselves in thinking about their experience with AFS and think about what they have learned and how their perspective on their host country might have changed from when they first arrived.

The photographs do not portray the stereotypical idea of the tourist Italy, but really show the country seen through the eyes of an exchange student who is learning about it, its people, its traditions and culture by being immersed in it.

By looking at these pictures you see how the AFS mission has been taken and internalized, where a student whose knowledge of a place was based on stereotypes is now substituted by the true knowledge of it, which is possible by experiencing the place, living with the people, going to school and learning a new language.

Looking through the photographs I see that they are all so different and personal because they are seen through the eyes of people from different places.  This allows me to see details of Italy that as an Italian I did not notice, or took for granted, because it seemed normal and obvious to me. The exchange students who are immersing themselves in a new country and culture are able to see all of that and are able to make their host family, friends and hosting community think about their country in a new and different way.

Like Fernanda Rojas Dunstan from Chile, one of the participants of the 2013 contest, who writes about her photograph Il Gabbiano senza Mare (A Seagull without a Sea): “What surprised me the most about Rome, are the seagulls. The seagulls live more near the sea and not so much near rivers or in cities. The seagulls can represent every AFS exchange student who is not in his natural environment: they are able to adapt and they have been able to make this so historically different place their new home.”

Photo credit: Intercultura

Or like Lok Yung Tse, a participant of the 2014 contest from Hong Kong, on her photograph L’Arte dei Giovani (The Art of the Young): “We know that Italy is the country of art, in other words “The beautiful country”, like Dante used to say. This is a graffiti that represents the spirit and a type of art of the young Italians. Despite how much times have changed, inside of them, the sense of Italian culture is strong. This is the most important thing in order to preserve and move the nation forward.”

You can find more photos from the 2013 and 2014 editions of the contest as well as all the previous years.

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L’Italia vista attraverso gli occhi di un AFS exchange student

Qualche settimana fa si è conclusa la XIV edizione del concorso fotografico “Cosí vedo L’Italia”, il concorso organizzato dal centro locale di Intercultura di Ivrea in Piemonte, per gli studenti ospitati in Italia da Intercultura.

Il concorso prevede che gli studenti stranieri ospitati in Italia fotografino ció che per loro è l’Italia nella sua  quotidianitá, le abitudini, i paesaggi e tutto quello che secondo i loro occhi la rappresenta.

I vincitori del concorso vengono poi ospitati ad Ivrea e partecipano a varie attivitá, come un corso di fotografia, la cerimonia di premiazione e una giornta nelle scuole elementari e medie dove gli studenti rispondono alle domande dei bambini riguardanti le loro foto e condividono informazioni sulle loro culture e i loro paesi.

Questa è una fantastica occasione per gli studenti per mettersi alla prova e riflettere sulla loro esperienza con AFS, su cosa hanno imparato e su come le loro prospettive e aspettative sul paese ospitante siano cambiate rispetto al momento in cui sono arrivati.

Le fotografie non ritraggono l’idea stereotipata dell’italia turistica, ma mostrano il paese visto attraverso gli occhi di uno studente di scambio che sta imparando  piú cose riguardo alle persone, le tradizioni e la cultura Italiana proprio perché si sta immergendo in essa.

Guardando queste immagini si puó vedere come gli obiettivi di AFS siano stati presi e interiorizzati, se prima per lo studente, la conoscenza di un posto era basata su stereotipi, ora è sostituita dalla vera conoscenza di esso, che  è possibile vivendo in quel posto, con le sue persone, andando a scuola e imparando una nuova lingua.

Guardando le fotografie noto che sono tutte diverse tra loro e sono davvero personali, perché sono viste attraverso gli occhi di persone che vengono da posti diversi. Questo mi permette di vedere dettagli sull’Italia che da italiana non avevo mai notato, o semplicemente non avevo considerato, perché  mi parevano normali e ovvi. Gli studenti stranieri che si immergono in un nuovo paese e in una nuova cultura sono in grado di vedere tutto ció e riescono a far riflettere la propria famiglia ospitante, i propri amici e la propria comunitá sul loro paese in un modo nuovo e diverso.

Proprio come  Fernanda Rojas Dunstan, partecipante al concorso 2013 dal Cile, che riguardo alla propria foto Il Gabbiano senza Mare, dice: “Quello che mi ha sorpreso di piú di Roma sono i gabbiani. I gabbiani vivono molto di piú in mare e non tanto in fiumi o in cittá. I gabbiani possono rappresentare ogni ragazzo d’Intercultura, che non è nel suo ambiente naturale: loro si adattano tranquillamente e hanno potuto fare di un luogo storico cosí diverso la loro nuova casa.”

Oppure come dice Lok Yung Tse, partecipante dell’edizione 2014 da Hong Kong sulla sua fotografia L’Arte dei Giovani: “Lo sappiamo che l’Italia è un paese dell’arte, insomma “Il bel Paese”, come diceva Dante. È un graffito che rappresenta lo spirito e un tipo dell’arte dei giovani italiani. Nonostante il cambiamento dei tempi, dentro di loro è forte il senso della cultura italiana. Questo è la cosa piú importante per mantenere e continuare la nazione.”

In questi link potete trovare piú foto dalle edizioni del concorso 2013 e 2014 e anche quelle degli anni precedenti.

Intercultural Learning in Action in Argentina

AFS Argentina held it’s annual Assembly from 23 -27 April, 2014 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During this time, more than AFS 150 volunteers and staff from Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil met to take part in levels 1 and 2 of the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program. Using experiential learning techniques, the workshops delved into topics such as: Definitions and Concepts of Culture, Communication Styles, Cultural Adaptation, among others. The in-person workshop is just step one of three for the Learning Program participants. Next they will complete a Content Questionnaire, followed by participation in the Distance portion of the Learning Program.

17 National Qualified Trainers (NQTs) who were trained during last year’s Southern Cone National Qualified Trainer Workshop, led the sessions. After their in-person Trainer Workshop, the NQTs underwent rigorous assessment which tested their knowledge and ability to reflect on what they learned and apply it to intercultural settings and workshops.

As the pictures show, a fun time was had by all! We wish the participants luck in finishing steps two and three so that they can complete their respective levels of the Learning Program!

For more pictures from the event, visit AFS Argentina and Uruguay’s event album here.


Promoting Intercultural Learning in Educational Institutions in Turkey

The following blog post is contributed by our fellow AFSer, Omer Ongun. Omer went on an exchange to USA in 2003 with AFS and since then has been a volunteer, volunteer trainer and project coordinator in AFS Turkey. After finishing college in business administration, with a great inspiration from AFS, he chose the intercultural learning field and intercultural competence as his area of profession. He is currently a graduate student at Galatasaray University, doing a research in understanding mobility programs as cultural diplomacy tools and developing a better mutual understanding of diverse groups in Turkey through cultural exchanges. Omer is also a folk/contemporary dancer of various cultures in Anatolia. He does practice body music and dance too, trying to experience body music in different folk cultures throughout the world.

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Being one of the very first alumni associations of AFS returnees in the world, AFS Volunteers Association of Turkey puts its effort into the events that increase collaboration with educational institutions for promoting intercultural learning and communication in Turkey. With this mandate in mind, two educational events are held this spring:

Symposium on Interculturalism, 15 May 2014, Istanbul

Galatasaray University and AFS Volunteers Association of Turkey are collaboratively organizing a symposium on interculturalism. “Symposium on Interculturalism” will take place at Galatasaray University, Istanbul as the very first international academic symposium to be held in Turkey that aims to focus on interculturalism in the fields of education, communication and business mainly around case studies and real life examples. Two main questions the discussions will generate are:

  • How do you manage intercultural learning environments?
  • How do you manage intercultural working environments?

The symposium will host students, professors, professionals and guest speakers from global corporations, non-formal and educational institutions.


Spectrum of Education, 23-27 April 2014, Istanbul

“Spectrum of Education”, an international educational conference, was organized this April in Istanbul by FMV Isik Schools, AFS Volunteers Association and Turk Kultur Vakfı/AFS Turkey. Marking the third edition of the Spectrum of Education Conference Series, this year the conference focused on creativity in education and intercultural learning.

It offered experts, educators, academics, teachers, school officials, students, volunteers and others interested in the field of creativity in education from all around the world the opportunity to share their best practices, to inspire and learn from each other, to discuss solutions to global challenges, and to create new international networks and co-operations.

We hosted 40 teachers and volunteers from AFS partners in Belgium, Russia, Holland, Hungary, Serbia, Czech Republic, Colombia, Italy, Norway and India. International participants along with three experts from the Ministry of Education of Turkey took part in a training titled “Intercultural Learning in AFS” delivered by Pieter Verstuyf and myself, also as a QT in Link Learning Program, from European Pool of Trainers. The training was very useful not just for reaching international teachers but also creating a connection and the possibility of a future collaboration with Ministry of Education in Turkey.

Another interesting session within the conference was “Do You Have 10 Minutes?” which consisted of four TED style talks for 10 minutes each from AFS returnees or AFS friends from Turkey. In the session, speakers focused on their stories of intercultural learning and creativity.


Both events along with various other co-operational events taking place in Turkey in the field of interculturalism are great ways of showing what our organizations are working to achieve: A more tolerant, just and peaceful world that respects and enjoys intercultural and diverse communities. It is highly essential and productive to work with educational institutions and include teachers, educational experts and students. The special value of these events is the importance of today’s students, who are the future parents, teachers, politicians, community leaders and more.