Educating Global Citizens

AFS celebrated its 100th anniversary by holding two international Symposiums at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on Saturday, 8 November 2014.

The High Level Learning to Live Together—from Ideas to Action: AFS Global Intercultural Education Symposium and the 100 Years Young! Youth Symposium addressed the critical challenges, concerns, opportunities and debates surrounding global citizenship education:

  • What is global citizenship?
  • How do we better develop active global citizens who are prepared to address the challenges of our interconnected world?
  • Who is responsible for delivering global citizenship education? 
  • Why is the debate over educating global citizens so complex and contentious?
  • Is global citizenship education the most effective way to develop citizen change makers who work across differences to solve shared challenges for a more just and peaceful world? 
  • And finally, what actions must we take to expand the global citizenship education movement?  
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Learning to Live Together—from Ideas to Action
AFS Global Intercultural Education Symposium

The AFS Global Intercultural Education Symposium was an amazing milestone in AFS history. On November 8, 2014, representatives of the AFS Global Community convened with luminaries in the world of peace and justice at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France to make a bold statement about the importance of global citizenship education and the role AFS has taken to advance this movement. The Symposium was held as part of the AFS Centennial Celebrations held in Paris in November. Over 1,000 people participated in the event.

The theme of the Symposium was inspired by Jacques Delors, former President of the European Commission and Chairperson of the UNESCO Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century, and his challenge that we “learn to live together by developing an understanding of others.”

“The mission for the AFS Global Symposium and the momentum for AFS going forward is to drive the global citizenship education movement to reach and cultivate partners, advocates, influencers, thought leaders and potential global citizens—young and old—especially those living or working in areas of great turmoil,” explains Melissa Liles, Chief Education Officer of AFS Intercultural Programs.

100 Years Young! AFS Youth Workshop & Symposium

AFS also sponsored the 100 Years Young! AFS Youth Workshop & Symposium as part of the AFS Centennial Celebrations. AFS believes that young people are critical partners and stakeholders in global citizenship education, as well as catalysts for positive change.  

 100 Years Young! is a three-part project consisting of AFS Online Forums, a two-day AFS Workshop in Paris and the AFS Youth Symposium held on the morning of November 8th at UNESCO Headquarters.  The online and Paris workshops included more than 100 participants (30 years and under), representing 39 countries.  
Insights and recommendations from the AFS Online Forums and Workshop informed the conversation at both the AFS Youth and AFS Global Symposiums. Specifically, the AFS Youth Symposium featured young thought leaders from all regions of the world who explored the best ways we can learn to live together as global citizens. The event was attended by several hundred people of all ages interested in learning fresh perspectives on the future of global citizenship education and intercultural learning. 

100 Years Young Forum and Workshop participant are also using the recommendations to develop and launch local-level actions and mini-projects in their home countries in support of global citizenship education and intercultural learning.