Young volunteers representing 19 national AFS organizations have been awarded scholarships to support their participation in the 28th Session of the AFS Youth Assembly (August 11-13, 2023 in New York City).
This session of The Youth Assembly is the second one organized by AFS Intercultural Programs, a global non-profit that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. AFS has 55 national organizations worldwide whose work largely relies on volunteers—people of all ages and backgrounds who are committed to fostering global citizenship in their communities and the world.
These 22 AFS volunteers between the ages of 18 and 32 underwent a competitive selection process to join the AFS Youth Assembly. Some of them will play a key role in organizing the event and delivering a seamless experience to Youth Assembly Delegates, while others will participate to get empowered to confront challenges, lead action-based projects, and make a difference in their communities.
Meet these outstanding young people below!
The Youth Assembly is accepting applications for more volunteers to support our event through May 20, 2023. Apply now!
AFS Volunteers with scholarships to participate as Youth Assembly Delegates:
AFS Argentina & Uruguay, 28 years old
2022 AFS Young Volunteer Award Winner
Berenice Bonneau has been a volunteer for AFS Argentina & Uruguay since 2019, focusing on building and strengthening AFS relations with local schools in the Santa Fe local chapter and supporting AFS participants in their student learning journey.
Her contribution to intercultural education has been fundamental in her local chapter and for AFS Argentina and Uruguay. She promoted and generated a strong and stable relationship with schools, getting them to value AFS for its contribution to the development of intercultural learning through organizing and facilitating workshops for students and teachers to prepare schools for the AFS experience. Her role in school relations became essential during the pandemic when she organized and facilitated workshops for teachers and supported other AFS chapters in developing School Coordinators.
She has facilitated and designed learning sessions for schools and in international events such as “Ibero-American Education Week,” organized by the Latin American Association of AFS organizations, and the AFS Global Ideathon, an online event run by AFS volunteers.
Maria Jimena Schottler Guzmán
AFS Guatemala, 22 years old
Jimena’s exceptional dedication and responsibility make her an outstanding volunteer. She is a proud member of a Global Family, having hosted a teacher during the teacher exchange program in 2019. Even amidst the pandemic, Jimena continued her active involvement in online AFS GUA activities and the ALEI youth Global Wednesdays that were organized. Now that things are returning to normal, she is utilizing her organizational skills and commitment to restructure the national volunteer force of AFS GUA.
Along with her university studies, Jimena is also dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship as a means of achieving sustainable development goals. She founded the E-Ship Club, an entrepreneurs’ club at her university, and she currently serves as its Dream Director. Additionally, Jimena works as a consultant at Junior Achievement Guatemala, helping high school students launch entrepreneurial projects. She was selected to guide young underserved students in the “Mi Ciudad Emprende” program, aimed at creating change makers.
Jimena’s excellent communication skills are also noteworthy. She is in charge of the student’s paper/blog at her university and has been published in several digital papers. She writes about global citizenship, developing global skills, and working together towards a more peaceful and sustainable world. Her upcoming TEDx talk at the Acton Academy of Guatemala, “The Elephant in the Room,” will discuss the importance of empathy in being a global citizen.
In addition to her involvement in AFS and entrepreneurship, Jimena also volunteers as a translator for medical missions. She translates from English to Spanish to help underserved populations access medical services.
AFS Switzerland, 28 years old
Jeanine had the opportunity to spend a year abroad in Costa Rica, and this helped her develop a passion for AFS’s vision. Her internship in the Volunteer Support department at AFS Switzerland inspired her to become a volunteer and create a positive social impact. She became Chairperson of her local area, organizing events and meetings with volunteers, host families, and exchange students.
In 2017, Jeanine participated in the NOW-Journey, a 6-month non-formal education program that brought together 30 young people from diverse backgrounds to learn from and with each other to become active citizens and create social change projects in their local communities. She pursued a social impact project of making a short film showing the everyday life of five individuals who fled their countries and made it to Switzerland. Although she felt that her project had failed, it opened up new opportunities in media, design, film, and communications.
Jeanine’s Bachelor’s thesis focused on academics at risk, and she wrote about Turkish academics exiled in Switzerland because they could not pursue their work in Turkey for political reasons. This made her realize that academic research could be political, and her primary goal became to give these people a voice.
Jeanine began an internship in the Administration of the Canton of Zurich’s Department of Justice and Home Affairs in September 2022. Her focus at work lies on two projects: getting young people to vote and developing an interest in political and social issues, and creating a Language Guide that gives employees the background and framework to communicate inclusively on all levels.
At university, Jeanine is currently working on a project that focuses on how non-profit organizations can attract potential volunteers through the digital way.
AFS Japan, 32 years old
Takahiro’s AFS journey began as an exchange student. He participated in the AFS exchange program and stayed in Belgium from 2009 to 2010. After returning to Japan, he struggled with positivity when the earthquake hit the Tohoku region in 2011. It took him months to regain his positive attitude, but he eventually decided to contribute to society however he could. So he joined AFS student volunteer activities and worked with his colleagues to revive events that had temporarily ceased due to the disaster. Through volunteering, he met many great friends from all over Japan and found his way to work with his colleagues to find hope even in times of despair.
In recent years, Takahiro has been involved with “Eliminating inequality of educational opportunities in island communities and passing on the preciousness of life.” He has been leading a project to provide young people with opportunities for intercultural experiences in Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost prefecture.
He believes that access to quality education must be ensured to solve social problems, so he set up a volunteer program to host AFS exchange students. He also organizes activities to visit the historic ruins of the Battle of Okinawa with local people and exchange students to promote peaceful societies and passing on the preciousness of life. Takahiro is committed to creating a more just and peaceful world, and his activities reflect this.
In addition to his activities in Okinawa, Takahiro works with volunteers in other areas of Japan to revitalize AFS Japan’s hosting activities and chapter operations. He is a valuable presence, as local volunteers tend to age significantly, and his young age and willingness to present new initiatives and opinions make him an asset.
AFS Thailand, 21 years old
Riya was selected as one of the Asia Kakehashi Project scholarship students in 2018-2019, where she immersed herself in the rich culture of Oita, Japan. Upon her return, she eagerly volunteered as a chaperone and assisted with orientations in Thailand.
Upon returning from her exchange as a scholarship recipient with the Asia Kakehashi Project in Japan, Riya co-founded ‘Cambodian Kakehashers,’ an alumni association to promote the opportunity and the importance of global citizenship in Cambodia. In their first year, they successfully organized and conducted multiple information sessions with various schools, reaching over 400 students.
As a previous participant in Technovation Cambodia, she volunteered as the assistant project manager in 2019, promoting the use of technology to solve community problems and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For five months, she managed a team of over 300 volunteers and participants, overseeing schedules, addressing on-site issues, and supporting students in any way necessary to ensure that the learning experience was of the highest quality. She also helped produce a short documentary video, “100 Dreams,” celebrating International Women’s Day.
Riya has firsthand experience with the disparity in education and takes it as her mission to bridge that gap. Together with five of her classmates, they created a workshop template to increase the hands-on engagement of low-income students between the ages of 9 and 12 with low-resource science experiments. As a result, they successfully launched practical and adaptable methods that increased the quality of science education for children at a low cost that is being used at YouthSF until today.
AFS Turkey, 24 years old
Israfil has been actively involved with AFS Turkey since 2019. He is currently a volunteer and office coordinator, responsible for coordinating events and facilitating communication among volunteers. Israfil’s journey with AFS began when he worked with Syrian child refugees at an NGO, which led to his participation in a training course with Syrian youth refugees. He applied for an internship with AFS Turkey and has been involved in various projects and events ever since.
Israfil has supported volunteers as a volunteer and office coordinator in camps, participated in training of trainers, and facilitated Erasmus+ projects and capacity building workshops. He has also contributed to digital transformation in the AFS Turkey Community during the COVID-19 pandemic and helped AFSers adapt to the community. Israfil has participated as a participant and facilitator in several projects related to sustainable development goals inside and outside AFS in 2021.
He took part in the preparation and realization of the “Short Film Workshop on Cultural Differences and Similarities” project funded by the European Union, aimed at promoting intercultural communication and youth engagement. Israfil also participated in the Local Dialogue project for Young People, which aimed to encourage youth participation in decision-making and establish a dialogue between young people and local administrations. Additionally, he participated in the “Shaping the Tennis Sport of the Future for Young People with Young People” project conducted by the Turkish Tennis Federation and supported by the Turkish National Agency within the scope of the Erasmus+ Youth Program KA3 Youth Dialogue projects.
Israfil values volunteering as a means to discover his true self and improve his personal and social skills. He has organized workshops to develop the personality and social skills of underprivileged children in Turkey. He understands the importance of sustainability and global issues and wants to continue his volunteering adventure to make a universal impact. Israfil is applying for The Youth Assembly program to gain a global perspective on youth studies and youth policies and hopes to form a global network for future collaborations.
AFS India, 21 years old
Suyashi is a highly skilled and organized individual with a proven track record of planning and executing projects effectively. Her various initiatives and programs in the past few years attest to her ability to develop and deliver effective educational programs. As a Marching J Scholarship Student in Japan in 2018-19, Suyashi utilized her experiences to create a Japanese Language and Culture Course for the Asia Khakehashi program students for the 2020-2021 batch. Her ability to manage resources and provide guidance to students is evident in her role as a mentor and facilitator for the Asia Khakehashi project in 2020-2021.
Suyashi’s passion for education and community service is reflected in her work as the founder of Free Pustakalya. This foundation aims to renovate 19 government school libraries to make them more productive and constructive. Through her leadership, Suyashi has developed and executed this project, including faculty training, career counseling workshops, and community engagement activities. She has also shown her ability to create innovative programs and initiatives that have a positive impact on the community by promoting an entrepreneurial mindset among underprivileged communities through her work with the Sanskriti Protection Centers.
Suyashi’s commitment to educating underprivileged students is reflected in her nationwide drive called Project UPLIFT. She has used a practical approach to learning and incorporated technology to provide quality education in low-income communities across India. Through free and interactive live classes, boot camps on leadership and entrepreneurship mindset, she has been successful in promoting quality education at Tier 2 and 3 – low-income communities across India.
In addition, Suyashi has been involved in various projects such as the Youth for Global Empathy Project done with AFS India, where youths can contribute and take charge of social action in the new normal scenario, 21 Pilots of 21st Century that connects education2education, skill2skill of urban institutes with rural, and the Sanskriti Protection Centers that aims to protect the language, culture, and tradition of the community in every Gram Panchayat.
Recently, she has also started to encourage women in STEM and Tech and was part of IEEE – women in sensor technology. The UN Youth Assembly is a platform that would give her a voice to the little champs of the world, and she would be a deserving candidate for the scholarship due to her extraordinary commitment to improving the quality of education in her community and beyond.
AFS Volunteers with scholarships to support the event delivery:
AFS Argentina & Uruguay, 28 years old
Victoria started her journey as a volunteer in 2015. She has been a Local School Relations Coordinator and Local Support Coordinator. In 2021, she became Chapter President of Rosario Chapter, one of the biggest Chapters in AFS ARG&URU. Victoria has also been Host family and Contact Person of 3 participants.
Victoria has been involved in many projects looking for innovations and ways to do things different: she helped to design and execute a new way of host families recruitment through Schools Relations; she participated in an organizational project to improve the financial administration of the Local Chapters; she contributed to develop the local sending support system for Sending participants and their families.
She can contribute to the 28th AFS Youth Assembly organization not only because of her journey with AFS but also due to her professional experience having a Master Degree in international affairs. During her time as a student, she participated many times as a conference organizer, such as the International Conference of Democracy and the Foreign Affairs Conference held by the Federal Counselor of Foreign Affairs of Argentina. She also has experience as a speaker in national and international conferences. In addition, since 2017 she is treasurer in a cultural NGO which every year organizes a cultural event with 500 participants.
She also has experience as project manager for a Foundation which works with people with disabilities. While working there she created the Assembly of Women with Intellectual Disabilities. During the assembly, they had seminars, workshops and conferences to raise awareness about the struggles of women with intellectual disabilities. Currently, she is organizing the participation in the march of the International Women’s Day managing the resources so that these 50 women with disabilities can participate in this massive event.
Maria Clara Araújo de Almeida
AFS Brazil, 24 years old
Maria Clara’s journey with AFS began when she was 16 years old and joined the organization out of her curiosity for the world. She started off as a school relations volunteer, learning about the processes involved in hosting a student, and gradually became more involved in marketing and communication. As a fluent English speaker, she helped hosting students and also took on the role of local volunteer responsible for arrival orientations. After going on a high school exchange program to Belgium Flanders, she became the vice president of AFS Natal, working on multiple areas and projects such as sending, hosting, schools, marketing, and volunteer development. She fell in love with group management, volunteer development, and building local impact, which led her to become the President of AFS Natal in 2021.
Maria Clara has also been a part of the AFS GLOBAL STEM ACADEMIES Design Team and worked as a chaperone in all editions of the program in Brazil. She has participated in numerous orientations, training, local, regional, and national events and has met hundreds of people from all over the world. Through AFS, Maria Clara discovered her passion for International Relations and Law, and now, as a law graduate, she aims to work and research in the field of International Human Rights Law. As a curious and enthusiastic global citizen, she is determined to make the world a better place and help as many people as she can, one step at a time.
Maria Clara is passionate about global issues such as social equality, education, and climate change, and has a strong interest in international law and relations. Her technical education in high school focused on environmental control and sustainability, which she still feels very passionate about. Maria Clara is a proud Brazilian, born in the poorest and least developed region of the country, and owes everything to her family who struggled to provide a comfortable, safe, and healthy life for her and her brother. She feels responsible for representing her country, region, and family and is determined to strive for the best.
Maria Ramona Maniero Gómez
AFS Paraguay, 26 years old
Maria has been involved with AFS for many years, having started as a participant before taking on various roles within the organization. Currently, she serves as the vice coordinator of the orientation committee for hosting and sending students.
Throughout her time with AFS, Maria has been responsible for organizing numerous events, including assemblies, meetings of local and national volunteers, and orientation camps for both Paraguayan and foreign participants. Her expertise in event management extends to all aspects of the process, from budget management to group management, ensuring that each event runs smoothly and successfully.
Maria’s dedication to AFS and her leadership qualities have not gone unnoticed. She is known for her strong work ethic, her commitment to the organization’s mission, and her ability to work with diverse groups of people. Her open-mindedness and respect for social inclusion have been instrumental in creating an environment that welcomes individuals of all backgrounds, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation.
As a former participant, staff member, and participant support coordinator, Maria has a deep understanding of the importance of AFS programs and the impact they have on individuals and communities. She is passionate about creating opportunities for young people to experience new cultures, develop leadership skills, and make a positive impact on the world.
With her extensive experience and unwavering dedication to the AFS mission, Maria is a valuable asset to the organization and a true leader within the AFS community.
Astrid Morgado Espinoza
AFS Chile, 27 years old
Astrid has been actively involved in the organization since leaving her local chapter in Viña del Mar-Valparaíso and moving to Santiago for university. She has contributed to AFS as an orientation volunteer, co-facilitating workshops, and supporting in outreach events. Astrid’s family is also involved with AFS, having hosted participants on three occasions, a teacher, and two students.
Astrid’s focus during her volunteer work at her local chapter was primarily on volunteer development and supporting the restructuring process. She collaborated in several workshops and events, including large-scale events such as the Congreso de Ciudadanía Global AFS. As an orientation volunteer, Astrid has worked on multiple orientations, leading the volunteer team, and being responsible for both the content planning and execution, as well as certain logistical aspects. In 2022, Astrid had the opportunity to work briefly with the AFS Chile office, supporting the operations team for two months.
Besides her volunteer work at AFS, Astrid has also been able to develop her organizational and leadership skills throughout her life. After returning from her AFS exchange year, she moved to Vietnam and worked as a volunteer at an NGO that helped vulnerable women and mothers for approximately a year. Since returning to Chile, she decided to continue her volunteering journey locally, joining her local Rotaract Club, the youth organization from Rotary International, and presiding over the chapter for a year before relocating to a different city. After Rotary, she focused solely on AFS for a few years.
Since the beginning of 2022, and the return of in-person education, Astrid became actively involved with multiple projects at her university. She was selected to be the ambassador of the internationalization program from her university and created, planned, and facilitated activities and workshops for local volunteers and exchange students. She also co-founded and presided over a socio-cultural club focused on South Korean entertainment, securing funding, leading the staff team, and organizing regular meetings and events for their members, including a large-scale inter-university dance competition with over 100 attendees.
Catalina Moncaleano Vera
AFS Colombia, 28 years old
Catalina’s dedication to intercultural learning and passion for making a positive impact on the lives of others shines through in her volunteer work with AFS. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, she showed initiative by collecting used computers to donate to foundations and projects in need, helping children who were unable to study. In total, Catalina donated about 25 computers, along with other school supplies. Her commitment to AFS goes beyond donations, as she also serves as a contact person for participants and families, using her skills as a psychologist to facilitate critical situations.
Catalina’s involvement with AFS has also had a profound impact on her personal and professional growth. As a psychologist who works with foreigners, she has been able to put into practice everything she has learned through AFS about intercultural learning. Her goal is to continue learning and growing within AFS, and to make this learning a part of her daily life and all her personal and work spaces. She feels deeply aligned with AFS’s mission and sees herself as an ambassador for the organization.
Catalina’s extensive knowledge in organizing events, combined with her commitment to AFS, dedication, and leadership skills, make her an ideal candidate for the Youth Assembly. By attending, she hopes to continue learning from other young people with incredible initiatives from around the world, expand ties to work as a team with them, and generate new initiatives that she can bring back to AFS Colombia to support positive impact in her community.
AFS Greece, 20 years old
Theo is an exceptional volunteer who has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to the mission of AFS. Following his exchange year in Uruguay with a full scholarship from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, he returned to Greece and immediately began taking on various volunteer roles and tasks.
As an event coordinator, Theo has facilitated or co-facilitated workshops at orientation camps, and spent countless hours promoting AFS programs at the Thessaloniki International Fair in September 2022. He has also provided technical support, served as an emergency host family, and acted as an ambassador for sending students.
Despite currently serving in the military, which is mandatory in Greece, Theo’s recent display of devotion to AFS was truly inspiring. He took a short leave from his military duties to join us at the Mid-Stay Orientation, flying all the way from Northern Greece -at the border with Turkey- where he is doing his military service. On his way back, he accompanied the hosted students who are placed in his region as they all traveled together by train.
In addition to his volunteer work, Theo has also hosted an exchange student from Italy who had a wonderful exchange year in Greece with Theo’s family. He also provided substantial support to AFS GRE and INT staff during the Network Meeting in Athens.
Theo’s engagement and commitment to the AFS mission are truly remarkable, and we believe he has earned a scholarship for the Youth Assembly. His roles as an event coordinator, facilitator, technical support, emergency family, host student escort, and ambassador demonstrate his versatility, dedication, and leadership within the AFS community.
AFS Poland, 27 years old
With her extensive experience in various volunteer roles, Angelika considers herself a support volunteer for any tasks that can be done online or in-person. She has been involved in selection seminars, helping camp leaders in seminar preparation, family interviews, and hosting exchange students, among other tasks.
Angelika’s passion for intercultural learning led her to develop online seminars with her friends from AFS Poland, connecting returnees and volunteers from the entire AFS network. She has also held various roles such as trainer, mentor, and basic training facilitator during AFS POL events for volunteers. As a Prep Team member, she has helped organize events such as AFS Poland’s Volunteer Academy and National Volunteer’s Meeting in AFS Portugal. Additionally, Angelika has led workshops, prepared orientations, and acted as a camp leader on numerous AFS hosting and sending seminars.
Apart from her volunteer work, Angelika has been involved in organizing various international events and meetings, such as the EFIL PEACE Camp in Brussels, which she has been supporting since 2018 as a member of the Support Team, Support Team Coordinator twice, and PR Coordinator. Through these experiences, she has developed skills in content creation, administration, and coordination of events, managing groups, and dealing with unexpected situations.
Professionally, Angelika works with groups of students aged 15-18 on Erasmus+ VET short-term internships, guiding them through their internship experience in various companies and providing tours around Portugal. She knows how to work with large groups of participants, manage sub-tasks, and deal with emergencies.
AFS Hungary, 23 years old
Bogi has been an active member of the Pool of Trainers and Event Managers for AFS Hungary since 2018. During her time in the team, she has been both a trainer and event organizer, leading numerous camps for exchange students and various events for volunteers. Her expertise has been crucial in managing events with participant numbers ranging from 5 to over 100.
In addition to her national experience, Bogi has gained international exposure as a key volunteer in the AFS Global Conference held in Budapest in 2018. With over 450 participants from 70 countries, Bogi was an integral part of the local team responsible for logistics, transportation, technical equipment, and troubleshooting throughout the event.
Furthermore, she has coordinated the organizing team for AFS Hungary’s annual international training weekend, trAinFS, which hosted around 100 participants, including volunteers from Italy, Austria, Serbia, and Hungary. Bogi’s responsibilities included overseeing the entire organization procedure, including logistics, budget, venue relations, deadlines, participation fees, transportation, and training content.
Her track record of loyalty, responsibility, and over 100 registered GL activities demonstrate her commitment to AFS and her capabilities as an event organizer.
AFS France, 23 years old
Anna’s AFS journey began in 2015 when she to applied for an exchange program. After spending a year in Minneapolis, MN, she returned to France and immediately got involved with AFS as a local volunteer. Over the years, Anna became both locally and nationally involved with the organization. She initially volunteered in the organization’s team for the national arrival and return of the hosted pax, as well as the returnees weekend for the sending pax.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, AFS FRA needed help with various missions. During the quarantine, Anna contributed her time to create content for online orientations. She later got the opportunity to organize the arrival of 200 hosted pax in 2020, managing a team of three to implement the crisis management plan to ensure the students’ safe arrival. Anna successfully handled the crisis with rigor and organization, skills that are essential for organizing international events.
Since this experience, Anna has been managing the volunteer organization of several national orientations, requiring months of preparations. She manages a team of 15 to 25 volunteers to coordinate transportation, activities, and visits, ensuring the smooth flow of the three-day national orientation.
Anna’s dedication to AFS is evident through her involvement in EFIL’s training on advocacy and participation in the network meeting. In October, she joined the national board. Anna’s experience in managing teams with empathy and rigor makes her a valuable member of AFS.
Frederik Klinge Dahlhus
AFS Denmark, 23 years old
Since returning from his exchange program, Frederik has been an enthusiastic and committed volunteer for AFS. He began his journey by facilitating workshops for exchange students at orientations, and quickly took on a leadership role due to his full commitment to the organization and its mission. Frederik has since coordinated and organized several camps and volunteer events with more than 100 participants, always demonstrating a deep understanding of the AFS mission and taking great responsibility in his work.
Over the past three years, Frederik has been instrumental in establishing a stable local chapter in his area. Through his efforts, he has attracted more volunteers, created local structures, and increased the level of local activities. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Frederik was named Volunteer of the Year for AFS Denmark in 2019.
With his exceptional social skills, planning and coordination abilities, and unwavering commitment to the AFS mission, Frederik has made a significant impact on the lives of exchange students, host families, and fellow volunteers.
AFS Italy, 22 years old
Alberto is a dedicated and engaged volunteer who has been actively involved in AFS ever since his return from his exchange in Poland in 2018/2019. While the pandemic prevented him from being active in the first year, he quickly got involved once the situation improved. In the last year, Alberto has been actively involved in various aspects of AFS, such as departures of Italian students going abroad, arrivals of foreign students, training of host families, hosting of students in Italy, and training of students leaving for foreign countries. He has also participated in several volunteer trainings throughout his volunteering period.
Despite his young age, Alberto has gained the necessary experience to be involved in national and international events, such as the Peace Camp organized by EFIL in Belgium in November 2022. During the event, he took on the role of PR Coordinator and contributed significantly to its success.
In addition to his involvement in national and international events, Alberto is very active in his local chapter, where he serves as the communication manager. He is responsible for managing social media, sending communications, and organizing logistics for events organized by the local chapter.
Overall, Alberto’s dedication and experience make him a valuable asset to the AFS community. We believe that he has the potential to contribute greatly to the success of future events, including the Youth Assembly.
AFS Italy, 26 years old
Caterina has been a highly engaged and active AFS volunteer for many years, with extensive experience at both local and international levels. She has participated in over 30 AFS events, including hosting and sending trainings, camps, and arrivals and departures. Her involvement has also extended to supporting and managing logistics for AFS conferences, seminars, and congresses. She has even chaperoned 40 students from Italy to Costa Rica, showcasing her dedication to the AFS mission.
Caterina has been an instrumental figure in organizing and managing events, both big and small, and has been involved in the PEACE Camp in collaboration with EFIL for three consecutive years. Her passion for intercultural education, communication, and learning is reflected in the success of the events she has organized.
As a postgraduate in Cultural Anthropology and Cultural Sociology, Caterina brings a unique perspective to the table. She believes that her field of study aligns with the mission and values of AFS, and that her participation in the Youth Assembly would enable her to further develop her skills as a trainer within the AFS community. Caterina is committed to using her experience and knowledge to create new and effective training programs for volunteers at local, national, and European levels.
Carlton Kojo Amegashie
AFS Ghana, 24 years old
Through his involvement with AFS, Carlton has gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of different cultures. His family hosted an exchange student from the USA, which taught them the importance of tolerance and acceptance. As a participant contact person, Carlton has shared his knowledge with other exchange students on how to be respectful and tolerant of the Ghanaian culture and people from different backgrounds.
Carlton’s passion for volunteering and making a difference in his community led him to participate in a volunteer project to renovate a basic school building in Accra, Ghana, as part of a group of participants from the US and Canada. He also served as an active member of the planning committee for the AFS Camp 2020, including organizing a fundraiser for the camp.
In addition to his work with AFS, Carlton has gained valuable experience working with the events manager at the British High Commission in Accra, where he curated a number of events, including the Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Party (QBP) in Accra 2022. His roles ranged from gate management and traffic control to check-in and guest list management, stage running, event ground setup, and IT support, among others.
Furthermore, Carlton served as the event planner for the 1HMG Africa Trade and Economic Seminar held in Accra, where he collaborated with co-event planners from Pretoria and London to handle logistics.
In his spare time, Carlton is also a self-taught freelance graphic designer with over 7 years of active experience. His creative skills and attention to detail have proven to be an asset in his various roles within AFS and event planning.
Joyceline Amanimaa Kwarko
AFS Ghana, 25 years old
Joyceline’s AFS journey began in 2014 when she participated in the Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, which allowed her to live and study in the United States for a year. During her time in the program, she was recognized for her academic excellence and joined the National Honor Society, where she volunteered to help other students in need.
After returning to Ghana and enrolling in the University of Ghana, Joyceline became involved with AFS as a volunteer and Participant Contact Person, helping exchange students in Ghana to have a successful and rewarding experience. She also developed a passion for social media and content creation, working part-time as a social media representative for various organizations while pursuing her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology.
Since graduating from university, Joyceline has transitioned into a full-time career in digital marketing, specializing in social media management. She has managed social media accounts for prominent organizations and has achieved impressive results in terms of followers and engagement.
In addition to her experience in digital marketing, Joyceline has also worked as a conference registration desk volunteer for several years, demonstrating her ability to handle event logistics and provide excellent customer service.
AFS Slovakia, 20 years old
Paula has been an active and dedicated volunteer for AFS since her return from her exchange program in Costa Rica. She has contributed in many different areas: being an active member of our communication team, being a contact person, translating documents, and organizing orientations for sending and hosting participants. Her dedication and precision in everything she does are highly commendable.
Paula’s passion for AFS is undeniable! She is always willing to help and goes the extra mile to ensure exchange students have the best possible experience. In addition to her volunteering, Paula is also studying medicine. Her hardworking and sympathetic nature is evident in her personal and professional life.