AFS expands program to catalyze 5,000 young changemakers worldwide

AFS is proud to announce the new AFS Global STEM Changemakers Initiative, funded by bp. This new initiative aims to provide 5,000 young people worldwide with immersive learning experiences through STEM, global competence, and sustainability-focused intercultural exchange programs. The initiative will span the next five years (2022-2026) and is run by AFS Intercultural Programs, an international education nonprofit, with funding from bp, a global integrated energy company.

Giving young people the tools to help build a more sustainable future

Through immersive learning experiences, the AFS Global STEM Changemakers Initiative will equip diverse young people with critical technical and STEM competencies needed (including exposure to engineering, digital, data science, and wider STEM awareness), paired with design thinking and global competence, including critical thinking, intercultural awareness, and teamwork, to help scholars understand and be prepared to help the world transition to a more sustainable future.

The program is also designed to empower underrepresented populations, especially young women, with pathways to STEM education, leadership, and social impact.

Over the next five years, AFS plans for selected young scholars to be able to participate in one of three distinct programs:

• AFS Global STEM Academies, which combine virtual and in-person learning and gather diverse young people aged 15 to 17.5 from around the world in global cohorts. The 2022 in-person Academies are scheduled to be held in Brazil, China, India, the USA, and Belgium/UK, where scholars will collaborate on real-world case studies in each market.

• AFS Global STEM Accelerators, which are virtual interactive workshops for girls around the world between the ages of 15 and 17.5, with a focus on sustainability and positive social impact, empowering girls to become changemakers in their communities.

• AFS Global STEM Innovators, for young people, aged 14 to 16, that commence with a virtual curriculum on global competence skills and culminate in a two-day in-person workshop, focused on sustainable development and local impact. The 2022 workshops are scheduled to take place in Perth, Australia; Cairo, Egypt; and Jakarta, Indonesia.

After program completion, scholars will be invited to join an alumni community which will offer diverse mentoring opportunities, skills development sessions, panel discussions and other development opportunities. Scholars will also have the chance to be invited to participate in the AFS Youth Assembly, a global gathering of young people actively tackling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Empowering young people to become changemakers through STEM

AFS brings decades of expertise in impact-driven educational exchange and the power of a global network. “Skills like cross-cultural communication, empathy, and conflict resolution are mission-critical for our world. Educating more young people to become global citizens is crucial if we want to create a more sustainable future. We are delighted to scale our partnership with bp and advance our shared commitment to more equitable education,” says Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs.

bp supports initiatives such as this to help build the STEM talent that the world needs to create sustainable solutions and improve the diversity of talent in STEM.

Applications for the AFS Global STEM Academies will open in January 2022, with applications for the Global STEM Innovators and Global STEM Accelerators programs to follow. Find out more about the initiative, program requirements and dates at afs.org/global-stem.