By Seema Shaikh, Principal, Sanskar Vikas Society Society Pragnya Bodhini Jr. College Of Education

“26th,  27th, 28th  Sept are some of the dates that will always remain itched in the memory of we four Mumbai AFS volunteers who were a part of the 2018 Global Conference held at Budapest. It was an amazing experience to understand global Competency from various perspectives in a city with stunning natural setting with a rich architectural and historical heritage. AFS Hungary was a perfect host and had left no stone unturned to see that the participants & were offered unmatched combination of learning and fine cuisine GLOBAL COMPETENCE the very topic created in us an urge to come out of our festive mood of Ganesha celebration and cross thousands of miles to hear from educators from all corners of the world. By the end of the three days we had loads of take away in form of learning besides wooden dolls and chilli powder. Here we observed a true alignment between educational and social entities. It gave us an opportunity to understand and even share how learning and training environment can be extended beyond the four walls of formal education. It provided us with a direction to enable us to empower the coming generation of educators and young learner’s. Every moment was edifying something new and different. Interacting with educators across the globe was a novel experience. It gave new dimensions to our existing knowledge and enabled us to get a peep into the other side of the globe. It also made us realise our responsibilities as torch bearers of 21st Century. The conference did not deal with education at middle and high school level but also threw light on how Intercultural learning environments can be created at higher education level too. We could get a chance to interact, question, debate and discuss with reformers, policymakers, founders, school owners and even social entrepreneurs. Some of the participants were lucky enough to be a part of the school visit and have a taste of the design thinking model. Since we were four from Mumbai we divided ourselves and tried to take away the maximum by attending different sessions. The very opening plenary session where we had Vishakha Desai the Board Chair of AFS intercultural program captures the heart of the audience by her apt questions. These questions and the interaction that followed gave the right direction to our thinking and gave us a flavour of what we were to expect ahead. It also provided us a broader platform to think about the definition of Global Competence in real sense. The take away of this session was realizing the relationship between global competence, innovation and creative solutions to existing and future problems.  

The day two plenary session was mainly for we school educators since it focused on the integration of this attribute into school curriculum at different levels. The third-day panel focused on more practical aspect of developing global competence. Here the discussions revolve around strategies and tools and to some extent skills that educators need to explore and utilize to foster global competence All the other parallel sessions of the two days provided ample chance to interact with educators with different perspectives, share best practices and learn differently. Inclusive and integrated approach towards spreading of global competence was the keyword. Throughout the three days the thought that satisfied was the realization that we were on the right track! Since we too here have now started understanding the importance of the ASK model i.e. attitude, skills and knowledge. It was a pleasure to know about the various efforts taken in different pockets of the world to foster brotherhood and create peace. The conference helped to connect the dots more effectively and understand the need of developing and helping the next generation engage in fruitful & results through communication, collaboration, creativity, imagination, critical thinking, problem solving and technology. Besides these visible takeaways and learning we also had some subtle yet valuable reflections Listening helps one grow However small the achievement it’s the effort that matters Time is precious. Respect others time too. Sharing leads to growth. Attending the global conference has been truly a mesmerizing journey. It has sown the seeds of global citizenship and our role as educators to move towards it. This conference has helped us embark on the Mission Exploration. Thank you AFS!”

Attendees from India at AFS Global Conference

Mr. Rajesh Awasthi, Principal of Choithram School, Indore | R. Jaypal, President of Global City International School, Bangalore, Bangalore |  Mr. Venkata Suresh Lolla, Principal of Global City International School, Bangalore | Ms. Seema Shaikh, Principal of Sanskar Vikas Society Society Pragnya Bodhini Jr. College Of Education Goregaon | Ms. Neeta, Member of School Council and School Counselor of Sanskar Vikas Society Society Pragnya Bodhini Jr. College Of Education Goregaon | Ms. Larzy Varghees, Principal & Director of St. Matthews High School, Mumbai | Ms. Kalpana Dogra, Principal of MKES English School, Mumbai | Ms. Angela Roye, Board Chairperson, AFS India & President AFS Asia Pacific Initiatives (AAI)