The theme of the 2024 AFS Youth Assembly is “Forge Our Shared Future.”

As global citizens we need to come together to save our planet, our people, our shared prosperity and create a peaceful world where we and future generations can live and thrive. The AFS Youth Assembly is a global platform that cultivates an international network of young leaders and changemakers through exchange, education, action and impact.

Discover the program highlights for this year’s AFS Youth Assembly below.

Read the Concept Note

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August 16 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall

International Youth Day Celebration and Opening Ceremony of the 2024 AFS Youth Assembly

  • Theme: Empowering Youth to Foster Peace and Security through Global Citizenship
  • Organized by AFS Intercultural Programs in collaboration with the United Nations International Organization for Migration (UN IOM), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Permanent Mission of Malta to the United Nations
  • Keynote addresses will include Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO; Fanta Aw, CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators; Nhial Deng, youth advocate, community activist and organizer, and more

Four Tracks Focusing on Climate Action, the Future of Education, Tackling Humanitarian Crises and Food Security

Two days (August 17 and August 18) filled with sessions designed to tackle the event theme “Forge Our Shared Future” at the Convene Brookfield Place
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Save our Planet: Unite for Climate Action

Knowledge Partner: MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI)
  • Panels tackling topics like: Humanitarian Crises in Climate Change: People-Centered Solutions and Rightsizing Climate Tech Solutions
  • Speakers including: Michael Sheldrick, Global Citizen; Nisreen Elsaim, Former Chair of the UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change; Ibrahim Ozdemir, Uskudar University and Clark University
  • Hands-on workshops with leaders in the field, like the World Bank and Anand Verma, ExpectAI
  • Find out more about this track in our podcast with Laur Hesse Fisher, MIT ESI

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Future of Education: Leveraging Technology & Innovation

Knowledge Partner: UNESCO
  • Panels tackling topics like: Digital Technologies in Education and Fine Tuning Skills for Jobs of Tomorrow
  • Speakers including: Priyadarshani Joshi, UNESCO GEM Report; Frederico Menino, Open Society Foundation; Mariama Kabia, HP Foundation; Patrick Freeman, IREX; Lisa Petro, Generation Global; Foluyinka Fakoya, Global Partnership for Education; Faith Abiodun, UWC International; Roberto Dib Ashur, Ministro de Economía in Brazil
  • Hands-on workshops with leaders in the field, like UNESCO GEM Report, Schwarzman Scholars and AFS Intercultural Programs

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Global Shocks: Tackling Humanitarian Crises

  • Panels tackling topics like: World Humanitarian Needs and Rebuilding from Humanitarian Crisis
  • Speakers including: Amanuel Mehari, IOM; Allan Goodman, IIE; James Carli, USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
  • Hands-on workshops with leaders in the field, like UNESCO
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Food Security: Strengthen Global Food Systems

  • Panels tackling topics like: Advancing Food Systems
  • Speakers including: Annette Nielsen, NYC Food Policy Center; Peter Umunay, Global Environment Facility
  • Hands-on workshops with leaders in the field
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August 17 and August 18 at the Convene Brookfield Place

Special Events Designed to Foster Impact, Networking and Youth Action

  • Plenary addresses with leaders like Michael Sheldrick, Global Citizen; Ana Rold, Diplomatic Courier; and more representatives of AFS Youth Assembly partners
  • Opportunities Fair: Top universities, world-changing organizations, institutions, and agencies to showcase their campaigns, initiatives, and volunteer/career opportunities to an exceptional cohort of young leaders and changemakers from around the world
  • AFS Award for Young Global Citizens: The Award recognizes young people for their commitment to improving the global community and whose actions contribute to a more just, peaceful, and tolerant world. The winner will receive $10,000, and two additional $2,500 prizes will be awarded to the runners up
  • Youth at the Front Lines: Action & Impact Hub: In this exhibit style event, selected Youth Assembly Delegates will present their work to fellow Delegates, network and find meaningful ways to collaborate on projects around the world. Delegates presenting at the event will be featured and be able to show off impact created locally and globally
  • Youth Assembly Ambassador Award Ceremony: AFS Youth Assembly Ambassadors are students and young professionals from around the world who are looking to become pioneers in their community, help youth have a voice at the global stage and represent the mission of The AFS Youth Assembly
  • SDG Zone with Youth Leaders
  • Speed Skills Exchange
  • Networking: Meet the Speakers
  • Interactive Sessions on leadership, building inclusive healthcare systems, AI, life skills, and more
  • Alumni Spotlights
  • Closing Ceremony & Culture Fest

Meet Our Highlighted Speakers

Since 2004, our most notable speakers have included UN leaders and senior staff, celebrities, and other luminaries from civil society and the private sector. Meet the speakers who will join us at the 2024 AFS Youth Assembly in New York City.

  • Allan Goodman, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of International Education (IIE)
  • Amanuel Mehari, Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer, IOM
  • Anand Verma, Founder & CEO, ExpectAI
  • Ana Rold, Founder & CEO, Diplomatic Courier
  • Christine Jane Shiau, Executive Director, Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute
  • Faith Abiodun, Executive Director, United World Colleges International
  • Fanta Aw, CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • Foluyinka Fakoya, Advocacy Specialist – Climate, Gender, Youth, Global Partnership for Education (GPE)
  • Frederico Menino, Senior Program Officer, Higher Education, Open Society Foundation
  • Ibrahim Ozdemir, Professor of Philosophy (Environmental Philosophy), Clark University, Worcester, MA.& Uskudar University, Istanbul-Turkey
  • James Carli, Prospect Researcher, USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
  • Joanne Halpern, Director of Hasso Plattner Institute, NY & Adjunct Professor of International Education, New York University
  • Larissa Cevallos, YA Ambassador and Youth Advisory Council Member
  • Lisa Petro, Education and Quality Lead, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change/Generation Global
  • Mariama Kabia, Worldwide Lead, Digital Equity Accelerator, Social Impact, HP Inc.
  • Michael Sheldrick, Co-Founder and Chief Policy, Impact and Government Affairs Officer, Global Citizen
  • Nhial Deng, youth advocate, community activist and organizer
  • Nisreen Elsaim, Climate, Peace and Security Expert, Youth and Environment Society (YES), Former Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change at UN Secretary-General’s office
  • Patrick Freeman, Senior Technical Advisor, IREX
  • Priyadarshani Joshi, Senior Research Officer, GEM Report, UNESCO
  • Randall Zindler, Co-Founder of the Regenerative Alliance and Chairman of YPO’s Planet Action Network. Faculty of Lancaster University Management School, Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, and Board Member of the Resilience Institute
  • Roberto Dib Ashur, Minister of Economy, Salta Government
  • Sevita Rama, Associate Director, Communications, Trickle Up
  • Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO

Meet Our Partners