Multiplying the #AFSeffect for young global citizens

by Ana Carolina Cassiano, Education & Intercultural Learning Fellow, AFS Intercultural Programs

In this article you will find out about a community event for teens that showcased how AFS intercultural education programs empower young global citizens.

The EFEITO+ Global Citizenship Education Workshop & Forum took place in October 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro State Park Library (Biblioteca Parque Estadual), organized by AFS Brazil and it’s parent organization, AFS Intercultural Programs, in partnership with CISV Rio. This community event showcased AFS educational programs designed to foster intercultural understanding as a fundamental tool for peace and justice across cultures.

The EFEITO+ event brought together 50 Rio de Janeiro-area high school students to tackle real-life social challenges within their communities and to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, also known as the Global Goals) locally. This public event connected the AFS global leaders who were attending the AFS World Congress with local youth for a meaningful community intercultural learning opportunity.

The EFEITO+ event included an all-day Workshop and an evening Forum:

The EFEITO+ Workshop brought together professionals and social entrepreneurs, including members of the AFS Board of Trustees, to talk to the students about their experiences as active global citizens. Students were inspired by the work of AFS leaders around the world, as well as the activities of local speakers to accomplish the U.N. Global Goals. AFS and CISV facilitated interactive and collaborative activities to help the students explore their own role as global citizens and changemakers.

The students participated in a community mapping exercise, which helped them plan how they want to improve their communities. By sharing and discussing photos of what they are proud of and what they would like to change in their neighborhoods, participants learned about local cultural differences. Those interested, could also submit their pictures to the photo contest “My world, my Rio” (Meu mundo, meu Rio).

“It was an opportunity to share a bit about where we come from, to tell our stories,” said Rafael Santos, an 18-year-old EFEITO+ participant.

The EFEITO+ Workshop culminated in a EFEITO+ Forum where students shared their energy, ideas and concerns with AFS international leaders, as well as other educators and organizations from the local community.

“We learned that to be a global citizen is to have empathy, to know how to communicate with others, to know our rights and how we can claim them, to have an attitude, to know how to help each other and mainly, to live with love,” explained Anna Cláudia de Andrade, a 15-year-old EFEITO+ participant.

“Events like EFEITO+ are relevant because sometimes we have ideas and projects, but we don’t know where to start,” added Elvis Alves de Souza, a 17-year-old EFEITO+ participant. “Events like these give us the chance to be in touch with changemaking initiatives and ideas and get inspired to act as global citizens.”

Vik Muniz, artist, photographer and Unesco Goodwill Ambassador, also took part in the Forum, sharing his thoughts about the relevance of global citizenship education to prepare youth to create a lasting positive impact on the planet and its people. Muniz also handed the awards of the community mapping photo contest “My world, my Rio” to the 3 winners: Matheus da Silva, Carolina de Oliveira and Amanda Santos.

The participants of the first EFEITO+ event continue to share ideas and resources through social media and are eager to participate in more intercultural learning opportunities. AFS Brazil together with CISV Brazil is planning to replicate the event in other cities in Brazil in 2017. With the support of AFS Intercultural Programs, AFS Brazil is preparing a resource handbook for other AFS member organizations around the world to offer this event.

“All of us have potential to make positive changes in the world and the smallest local actions are also important. Thank you, AFS, for sharing with us and putting into practice this wonderful way to see people and the world.” — Juliana Bogéa, 16-year-old EFEITO+ participant

Connect: Intercultural Insights for Global Citizens

— curated by AFS Intercultural Programs

AFS Intercultural Program

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AFS is a community of 50+ Partner organizations, supported by 44,000 volunteers worldwide, who provide global exchange and intercultural opportunities.

Connect: Intercultural Insights for Global Citizens

— curated by AFS Intercultural Programs