By Aadil F, Chief Marketing and Development Officer, AFS Intercultural Programs India

The UN’s Global Education First Initiative states, “It is not enough for education to produce individuals who can read, write and count. Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies.”

I couldn’t agree more.

The three priorities of the UN’s Global Education First Initiative– Put Every Child in School, Improve the Quality of Learning and Foster Global Citizenship; are about creating the transformative change we need in the field of education. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth an enthusiastic agenda for global education. It does not only mean that education is all that we need, what is imperative is quality education. The education must transform into action so students become ready to tackle the 21st-century challenges and thrive in their careers.

Today’s world is facing major global challenges and to address these challenges, we need to prepare citizens who know the ABCs of the being an active global citizen. Citizens who are ready to think globally and act locally! The increased intolerance, rise in nationalism and dearth of humanity demands citizens – who understand the true value of education, the need of creating a just and peaceful world. The only way we can create and prepare citizens who can resolve challenges of 21st-century world is by providing them the transformative educational experience.

With the upsurge in the population, we need many more institutions and changemakers who are ready to dive in the process of advancing quality education across national and cultural divides. We need to have collaboration between NGOs, community leaders, government officials, leaders from diverse backgrounds and policy-makers to come together and push the agenda and priorities of global citizenship education.

AFS’s mission is to create a just and peaceful world and to do that, we prepare global citizens of all ages and background. You can be a student, family, educator, etc. and you can be part of the #AFSeffect. AFS focuses on six main areas to support the global citizenship education movement:

  • AFS helps the world learn to live together. We are committed to fostering intercultural exchanges, learning and understanding as a powerful and productive way to build a more just and peaceful world.
  • AFSers embrace differences and believe our world is stronger because of them. AFS stresses the importance of diversity and inclusiveness in our policies, programs, organizations and public outreach efforts.
  • AFS is committed to expanding the role of young people in leadership and the decision-making processes of AFS and society at large. We share our findings and recommendations to help organizations and communities better leverage the potential of their young volunteers and leaders.
  • AFS advocates along with educators, policy makers and others—to integrate intercultural learning and global citizenship education into national agendas and public school curriculums.
  • AFS works closely and innovatively with schools, universities, humanitarian and peace groups, governments and other NGOs on the issues that reflect our mission and support global citizenship education.
  • AFS proactively supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and believes they provide a roadmap to help make our world a better place for all people.

Now, think about the last time you invested your time, energy and efforts to create a better present and future. If you couldn’t come up with something, get involved! There are many ways you can contribute and learn to be a global citizen. At AFS, we provide unique opportunities to everyone to be what the world needs now and for tomorrow. Come join us and be part of the #AFSEffect.