The Changemakers Academy is delivered in partnership between Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania and AFS Intercultural Programs.

Now more than ever, the world needs vibrant, passionate leaders committed to positive social and environmental change. At the Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania, we believe that anyone, anywhere can create positive social impact – and we have the tools, training, and connections to help you make this possible.

The Changemakers Academy will introduce participants to some of the fundamental methods for creating and testing new ideas for social innovation, in the style of a team-based hackathon. Participants will collaborate in a small group and develop a plan for a prototype to key challenges, and present their projects at the culminating event.

In the Changemakers Academy, participants will engage in the following:

  • Hands-on learning at the University of Pennsylvania campus – a world-class, ivy league university – with sessions led by Penn faculty and instructors.
  • Certificate of completion of the Changemakers program from the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Interactive, application-focused sessions on interviewing, empathy, and community research; strengthening creative tools and methods for design thinking; prototyping, and increased creative confidence and personal visioning.
  • A tour of the cultural and historic highlights of Philadelphia, a UNESCO World Heritage City.

Celebrate new friendships in Manhattan Boat Cruise, while taking in the NYC skyline – a most memorable experience for participants.

All participants who complete this program will receive a certificate from the Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania is the official Partner for the Changemakers Academy of the 29th AFS Youth Assembly. 

Deepen your understanding of social impact

Participants who choose this Academy can expect to push themselves outside of their creative comfort zones, and will leave with the skills and friendships to support a journey in pursuing positive social change – from the grassroots level, to large scale movement building. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the ethical foundations of social impact work, and creative tools for problem solving that they can apply in everyday situations. 

Changemakers Academy Fees

Includes: This Academy + the AFS Youth Assembly conference
  • Dates: August 13-18, 2024
  • Double room – $3550
  • Single room – $3850

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  • Round-trip flight arrangement
  • Airport transfers
  • Visa application and fees (if applicable)
  • Travel/healthcare insurance
  • Personal incidentals and expenses
  • Transportation outside the programs
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Scholarships for the Changemakers Academy

Scholarships are now available for the Changemakers Academy!

Scholarships for the Youth Assembly Academies cover the program registration fees, which gives you access to everything listed as included in the program, plus a travel stipend in the form of a reimbursement for your transportation costs.

Candidates must meet all of the requirements below to be considered eligible for this scholarship:

  • Have participated in the AFS/bp Global STEM program in the past;
  • Have never attended the AFS Youth Assembly before;
  • Be between 18 – 32 years old at the time of application;
  • Have the ability to secure a travel visa and travel to the United States (the Academy is an in-person event).

Application deadline is December 15, 2023.

Apply for a scholarship now

Frequently Asked Questions