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Global Schools Partners with AFS Youth Assembly and Hosts Workshop at International Conference

On August 11th-13th, the Global Schools Program (GSP) represented the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) at the 28th Annual AFS Youth Assembly held in New York City, hosted by AFS Intercultural programs. The Global Schools Program was proud to participate this year as an official program partner. Participation in this event was an important milestone in the work of the SDSN leading up to the Summit of the Futures in 2024.

To kick off the three-day event, Global Schools representatives, consisting of Amanda Abrom, Kendra Lee-Heney, and Raquel Armendariz Sucunza, attended the opening ceremony of the Youth Assembly held at the United Nations Headquarters. The event was centered around the theme "Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World." The opening plenary panel featured an array of inspiring speakers, including: H.E. Ms. Vanessa Frazier, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN; H.E. Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly, United Nations; Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach in the United Nations Department of Global Communications; Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO; Wendy Kopp, CEO and Co-Founder of Teach for All; Darryl Rattray, DYCD’s Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Partnerships at the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, representing New York City Mayor Eric L. Adams; Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs.

Next, a captivating youth panel brought together a lineup of remarkable speakers who are driving change in diverse fields, including: Hana Sahatqija, Youth Engagement and Entrepreneurship Lead at UNICEF; Amira Nasim, Migration Policy Officer at the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Amanda Nesheiwat, Deputy Director of Sustainability and Community Outreach for Hudson County Improvement Authority in New Jersey; Noel Ifeanyi Alumona, Founder & CEO of Boys Champions. Their dynamic perspectives illuminated the potential of the younger generation in fostering positive change and driving sustainable development.

On the second day of the youth assembly, the Global Schools Program team hosted a workshop titled: “Inspiring Global Citizenship: How to Build Global Education Projects in Schools and Youth-led Organizations.” During the workshop, participants engaged in a series of interactive activities that showcased how educators and youth leaders could introduce competencies in the classroom that supported global citizenship education learning outcomes. In addition, the Global Schools team discussed their international outreach and work with thousands of educators and students across the globe. The event was attended by ~75 participants who were actively engaged in creating their own global citizenship activities for the classroom, which will soon be featured on the Global Schools Program blog.

On Sunday, Raquel Armendariz, Comms Lead for the Global Schools Program, spoke on the panel “SDG17: Where do we go from here?”. The discussion centered on the significance of Goal 17 to achieve the rest of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). During the panel, Raquel drew attention to the positive transformative consequences of partnerships across sectors. She showcased Global Schools’ and its associations with educators worldwide as an example of how sustainability can be promoted and achieved in local communities to face global challenges.

In addition, Director of SDSN Youth, Brighton Kaoma, participated as a guest judge for the AFS Award for Youth Global Citizens, which grants $10,000 to an outstanding Youth Assembly delegate, as well as $2,500 to two runners-up, to upscale local projects that promote the SDGs.

On the final day, the team participated in the closing ceremony, which was a celebration of culture attended by hundreds of delegates participating in this year's AFS Youth Assembly. The closing ceremony posited youth leadership as a beacon of hope and catalyst for transformative change. International awards and recognitions were given to various youth leaders, and the closing session was full of music, dance, and an inspirational energy that affirms youth are a wellspring of fresh perspectives and innovative solutions that are effective in driving progress. Global Schools looks forward to future collaborations and events to showcase the transformative power of youth leadership for the SDGs.

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