Here are 7 things you should know about the AFS Youth Assembly:

1. OUR MISSION IS TO EMPOWER YOUTH TO BECOME LEADERS AND CHANGEMAKERS

The AFS Youth Assembly is dedicated to fostering global connections and empowering young leaders to drive positive change in their communities and beyond. Our mission is to empower youth to become leaders and changemakers who will strive to create a sustainable world free of war, oppression, exclusion, and poverty. Through a worldwide network, programs and exchange, we are harnessing the power of friendship as a catalyst for greater understanding, shared learning, and sustainable action.

2. 20,000 ALUMNI DELEGATES FROM MORE THAN 100 COUNTRIES

Over the past two decades, the AFS Youth Assembly has served as a catalyst for empowering young leaders worldwide. With over 20,000 alumni delegates from more than 100 countries, this annual event, held in the vibrant city of New York every August, connects and empowers youth aged 18 to 32 to learn and take action on global issues. Delegates have the chance to connect with a diverse range of individuals, including fellow young leaders, government officials, NGO representatives, industry experts, mentors, and peers. These connections foster collaboration, inspire new ideas, and expand global networks. There are many impressive members in our alumni community, like Shah Chowdhury, an award-winning environmentalist and social entrepreneur from Bangladesh who was also featured on Forbes.

3. SHARE IDEAS, BUILD NETWORKS, AND DEVELOP LEADERSHIP SKILLS

Delegates immerse themselves in a dynamic environment where they share ideas, build networks, and develop leadership skills through workshops, discussions, and networking sessions aimed at fostering collaboration and innovation. Delegates can choose to sign up for the Conference only, which gives them access to the general sessions taking place over the Youth Assembly weekend. Or they can also join the Youth Assembly Academies, specialized program tracks that offer in-depth exploration of specific themes, like climate entrepreneurship, international affairs, or changemaking. These academies are designed in partnership with top level content partners, like the New York University or the University of Pennsylvania, and provide a comprehensive experience, including seminars, site visits, and exclusive events designed to facilitate learning, connection, and action.

4. LASTING IMPACT

After the Youth Assembly, delegates return to their communities armed with inspiration, skills, and networks to effect real change, advocating for social justice, sustainability, and human rights.

“The AFS Youth Assembly was a truly transformative experience. It gave me the knowledge, the skills, and the confidence to be a climate change leader. I am committed to using my voice and my platform to make a difference in the world.”– Meaza Haregewoin Fiseha, 26 years old, Ethiopia 

5. SUPPORT, WORK WITH AND ALIGNED WITH THE UNITED NATIONS

The AFS Youth Assembly has been honored to count UNESCO, UNAOC (United Nations Alliance of Civilizations), IOM (International Organization for Migration), UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) Office of the High Commissioner, and the United Nations Association of the United States of America among its official partners so far.

These esteemed organizations bring invaluable expertise, resources, and support to the assembly, further amplifying its impact and reach. Together, we strive to empower young leaders, promote intercultural understanding, and advance the shared goals of peace, sustainability, and inclusive development championed by the United Nations.

The opening ceremony of the AFS Youth Assembly, often held at the UN headquarters, underscores the significance of this partnership, showcasing the collective efforts of both organizations to inspire and empower the next generation of changemakers on a global stage.

6. RECOGNITION FOR OUTSTANDING PROJECTS AND CHANGEMAKERS

The AFS Youth Assembly Delegates can benefit from special opportunities, like the Ambassadors Program and the AFS Award for Young Global Citizens, which offers a cash prize of $10,000 (and two additional $2,500 prizes to the runners-up), Outstanding Youth Delegate Award and a number of ways to showcase their impact during the Assembly. We want to recognize young people for their commitment to improving the global community and whose actions contribute to a more just, peaceful, and tolerant world.

7. THE YOUTH ASSEMBLY HAS A 20-YEAR LEGACY 

The Youth Assembly was founded in 2004 by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation (FAF), a not-for-profit organization with a history that dates back to 1958. FAF and its flagship program, The Youth Assembly, are now a part of AFS Intercultural Programs. AFS Intercultural Programs is an international, voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.

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