By Nahida H. Ali

Last March 18-25, 2018 the AFS Intercultural Program Philippines participated in the AFS-USA Intercultural Programs Conference – ECA Sponsored Workshop which is held in Alexandria, Virginia, USA.

With the theme Celebrating Global Impact; the alumni community reflects on celebrating the 15th anniversary foundation of the YES program. The AFS-USA Intercultural Programs Conference – ECA Sponsored Workshop was attended by the different representatives from AFS countries who implement programs sponsored by the Department of State (YES, YES Abroad, NSLI-Y and CBYX). The event focuses on two consecutive workshops; Alumni Social Entrepreneur Leadership Workshop that happened last March 19th -22nd and the Sponsored Programs (SP) Workshop on March 22-25th. Likewise, the workshop is a great avenue for the AFS volunteers and staff to celebrate the global impact of the sponsored programs.

During the YES Alumni Social Entrepreneur Leadership Workshop, participants were given a time to pitch their project ideas to a panel of community members. The workshop is designed to guide YES Alumni community through the journey of being change-makers by providing them the skills, tools and support to develop and implement awareness-raising campaigns and initiatives related to issues concerning the community. Thus, the YES Alumni are becoming the catalysts of change in establishing collaborative efforts for the betterment of their community.

Moreover, during the Sponsored Program Workshop there are several sessions that took place such as the International Bazaar and meeting with the Congressional representative staff on Capitol Hill through the support of the U.S. Department of State exchange programs. On the International Bazaar, participants were given the chance to show off the “visible” parts of their culture to the workshop attendees through a table display of country and culture. Furthermore, the Capitol Hill visit is a great opportunity to share how the exchange experience created an impact to the YES Alumni as well as to the host community.

The event ended through an AFS Talk and ISP/OSP Alumni Panel Discussion that focuses on the global impact of AFS sponsored programs in every community across the globe.