MONTREAL, Oct. 7, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - What exactly is an active global citizen? And what will it take to empower more active global citizens to make positive impacts on the world? The AFS Global Conference on Active Global Citizenship—and How to Educate for It will tackle these questions plus the tough challenges, opportunities and resources required to bring global competence into mainstream education systems worldwide this 9-11 October in Montreal.
The event will stimulate cooperation among local and global leaders from 71 countries in education, NGOs, business and government to make learning about how to work with diversity available to more young people so they can use this learning to become active changemakers in their home communities and as citizens of an interconnected world.
AFS President and CEO Daniel Obst, emphasizes the urgency of ensuring education meets these 21st century needs. "Sustainable solutions require collaboration. The best way to tackle global challenges, like those just discussed by the United Nations last month, is by helping more people learn how to effectively communicate with people from different cultures or with different perspectives. We call that 'power skills'."
Cultural, religious, economic, ethnic, national, gender and political differences continue to prevent people from connecting and working effectively together. However, it is impossible to solve major problems like the climate crisis or those addressed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals if individuals are unable or unwilling to understand and work with diverse ideas and perspectives.
"The discussions we will have at the Conference are crucial because differences between people can be polarizing. But simply minimizing our diversity is often not the most effective solution. In Quebec, for instance, one might say that the new laicity laws aim to hide differences and instead create an appearance of a shared commonality. This approach may 'work' at first, but is temporary at best because it denies the realities of how complex we are as humans and our need to express ourselves authentically. Embracing differences by openly showing, understanding and explaining how and why they exist and then, together, figuring out how we can benefit from them is a much more powerful way of generating long-term solutions. How to make this philosophy come to life in our education systems is the aim of our discussions in Montreal," said Melissa Liles, Executive Director of the AFS Center for Intercultural Learning and Global Competence Education.
Supporting educators to take on global competence education requires a cross-section of stakeholders—policy makers, businesses and community leaders for starters—to join forces and make available the resources. The second annual AFS Global Conference in Montreal will help do this by sharing scalable solutions, dissecting roadblocks and identifying resources and tools that educate for active global citizenship.
"AFS Interculture Canada has invested decades in programs that build bridges between Canada and the world. We are honored to be hosting this important discussion and welcoming delegates from all over the world to Montreal to experience first-hand the rich diversity and leadership in international education that our country has to offer," says Jean-François Mongeau, Vice President of AFS Interculture Canada.
"The experience and expertise that AFS brings to the world is very much needed in the time we live in today," said Andreas Schleicher, head of Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). "Working with people who think and feel differently from us, who come from different cultures is about hard work, experiences and exchange. No organization in the world brings more experiences and expertise to the table than AFS with a community of one million people in the field who can activate that."
400+ Conference delegates will examine :
- How global competence is necessary for all stakeholders to connect resources and complementary skills in order to achieve meaningful progress towards the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
- How, in order to use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills effectively to solve these problems, people must first have the competences of working together across differences.
- What are winning strategies to bring intercultural learning and global competence education into classrooms, youth programs and other lifelong learning environments.
- Cutting-edge study abroad and other (virtually) immersive intercultural education programs that provide real-world learning opportunities and global skills that employers require.
A special highlight on the Conference program is the premiere of the TV series and multimedia educational materials designed by Project Explorer, called Crash Test World. This new series, hosted by Kari Byron, star of Discovery Channel's MythBusters and Netflix's White Rabbit Project, showcases fascinating everyday active global citizens and community heroes who harness global skills and innovative ideas to do social good.
The AFS Global Conference provides a unique opportunity to build solutions that will redefine how we educate students for the future. This event is organized in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Teach For All, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, UNESCO Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) and others. Visit the Conference website for more information: conference.afs.org.
About AFS Intercultural Programs
AFS Intercultural Programs is a global not-for-profit Network that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. Each year more than 66,000 people take part in AFS educational programs in 60 countries worldwide. Our 12,000+ study abroad and exchange students are being supported by over 50,000 volunteers, 8,500 host families, and staff. Since its founding in 1914, AFS has exchanged more than 500,000 young people all around the world. Visit www.afs.org.
About AFS Interculture Canada
AFS in Canada welcomes 300 students annually into local families and schools, offers young Canadians the opportunity to study, volunteer and intern abroad in over 55 countries, and provides training for school leaders, teachers and classrooms who recognize the importance of developing active global citizens. Visit www.afscanada.org.
Source : Conférence internationale d'AFS
For further information: Marilou Gareau, Morin Relations Publiques, [email protected], 514 289-8688, ext. 238, 514 972-5408 (cell.)