29th September to 2nd October, 2017 | Total Participants- 112 | Staff – 22
12th Annual Volunteer Meet began on 29th September’17 with Mrs. Angela Roye (India Board Chair) & Mrs. Divya Arora (National Director) welcoming the guests. The AFS India staff welcomed the guests in different regional languages from across the country as well as 3 other countries to be able to make a closer connection with the volunteers, which was highly appreciated. The Annual Report 2017 was launched and the volunteers were also informed about the new development in AFS India Membership for Schools. (To read Annual Report 2017, click HERE)
The volunteers who came for the meet were new to each other therefore to make them all comfortable, icebreaker, Speed Dating & Find Someone Who, was organised which was enjoyed by all the participants and helped them know each other well.
The Vadodara and Anand groups came prepared with the Gujarati traditional dance – Garba. They led everyone in the room for the dance. The room was full of radiating energy, filled with laughter, excitement and enjoyment.
30th September 2017
It is important that our volunteers are aware of the working of the National office, so the day therefore started with update from the Board Chair and National office so that the volunteers also know where we stand today and how far we have come. After the tea break, volunteers were divided into 2 groups for the breakout sessions – Cultural Diplomacy — Exchanging of Ideas & Information for a Better Tomorrow and Importance of Global Citizenship.
Importance of Global Citizenship session was facilitated by Francisco Marmolejo, Lead, Global Solutions Group on Tertiary Education & Lead Education Specialist for India of The World Bank Group and Jyotsna Bhatnagar, Private Sector Partnerships Officer, UN World Food Programme. Thanks to both of the speakers where they enlightened us about the changing interdependent & interconnected world and how education is the key enabler.Mr. Francisco very nicely pointed out that, “Global citizenship has to be built from home”.
Cultural Diplomacy — Exchanging of Ideas & Information for a Better Tomorrow session was taken by Alain Baetens, First secretary, Belgium Embassy in New Delhi and Mandeep Kaur, All India Principal Program Advisor, Public Affairs Section, American Embassy, American Center. Mr. Alain pointed out “It is nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice!” so did Mrs Mandeep quote “Power of many is greater than one”.
Both the sessions were very informative and engaging and were thoroughly enjoyed by our volunteers. Much thanks to all the speakers for giving our time and sharing their thoughts of different topics.
Later during the day, India Board Chair talked about the importance of the Network Strategy, how it plays a pivotal role in AFS and how volunteers need to be aware of the new development. After the presentation by India Board Chair, volunteers were divided into 4 groups for the Network Strategy session where each group consisted of 25-30 volunteers.The volunteers actively participated in their respective groups understanding and discussing 4 areas of action: Programs, Education, Volunteerism & Advocacy. They discussed the Network Strategy in respective group and worked out the plan of actions for AFS India in their group. Representatives from each group very nicely debriefed about the session they were in after they each attended different groups in the plenary session.
Reflection was done with one to one interaction with each volunteers. The volunteers reflected upon the whole day and expressed what they liked and the areas of improvement. To have Reflection at the end of the day was surely a hit idea!
The day ended with Fun Quiz. It was conducted in the evening as one fun activity as the name suggests. Questions were from different segments like AFS, AFS family, Cinema, Sports, Fashion etc. Teams were formed combining chapters and nice name was given to each like Vada Pav, Chaat, and Mix Veg etc. (Names are of various Indian cuisine)
1st October 2017
The day started with breakfast meetings with chapters to know and discuss the challenges the chapter is facing if any, their good practices, how National Office can help them.
Agenda was discussed with the volunteers about the day. They were made aware of the respective breakout session – Peace Education: Building an Inclusive Society where trainers were Najmuzzaman Mohammad & Ajay Mehta; Swaraj where trainer was Gaurav Shorey and Leadership Development Workshop where trainers were Divya Arora & Aadil Fahim. Each of the group was very happy and had great learning out of their session. The learnings of each of the sessions were further reflected upon during the reflective session during the end of the day.
After full day of back to back learning session, to make the night lively and light we had Gala Dinner where color code for women was Pink and for men blue. Everyone followed the color code well and looked lovely. Gala dinner night was fun with each chapter showcasing their talent. National office also made sure to perform. It was one beautiful night loaded with performances, pictures and never ending fun.
2nd October 2017
The day again started with breakfast chapter meetings. Then we had Grand Award ceremony where the aim was to appreciate our dear hardworking volunteers, chapters, alumni, school, host families and more for the session of 2016-17. Awards were given in various categories such as Most Popular Chapter, Best Alumni, Best Volunteer, Best Sending School etc. Prior to the meet, voting was done for each of the award categories where chapters first sent their nominations and later voted for winners.
The Russian staff and Hungarian volunteers then gave presentations about their respective countries, also how they work in their AFS office. Both Russian staff & Hungarian volunteers conducted short quiz and gave mementos from their countries to the ones who gave the correct answers.
Everyone was thanked for making it to AVM 2017 and for being a sport throughout the event. They were given certificate of recognition in the end for attending the 12th Annual Volunteer Meet 2017. We hope to keep going strong with the help of our volunteers.
All volunteers were bid goodbye with the promise of meeting again soon and of course working more closely and reaching new heights!