Please Share If You Like  Working with clients, one of the things that continually surprises me is that many people in leadership and management roles lack clarity on how they are measured. Please Share If You Like  The single most important LEADERSHIP ABILITY is the ability to influence people. Please Share If You Like  In our fifteen part series on the Foundations of Leadership, you learned about some valuable leadership tools.
Please Share If You Like  On the personal level within a corporate organization, effective leadership helps you compete. Please Share If You Like  Managing Energy With Stories   One of the most powerful questions one can ask oneself is  Am I managing time or energy? This video (link here) is from a conversation between Peter Koestenbaum and Joe Lafferty in Dallas Texas in November 2011. If you would like any further information on how you can apply the Leadership Diamond™, to transform your leadership, please contact Peter here, or Joe here.
Leadership formation steps back from the grandiosity and the hubris of the Messiah discourse, which aims at the transformation of organisations and followers. What role do the young people play in achieving the Global Goals set for the world to work to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030?
Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2016 United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum focused on the role of young people in implementing, communicating and realizing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets of the Agenda. The event took place on 1-2 February at the UN Headquarters in New York, gathering young leaders and senior Member States representatives in plenary sessions and interactive thematic discussions.  AFS was represented at the first day of the event as I attended the plenary sessions and the breakout session on Education.
The overall discussions highlighted that youth-related issues are crosscutting and present through several parts of the Agenda.
She emphasized that education is a common effort and that goes beyond formal education spaces. Being an organization committed to prepare and empower our exchange participants and volunteers to become global citizens and change-makers in their communities and around the world, this is a topic aligned with AFS’ values and mission.
Members of the AFS global community already engage in sustainable development initiatives in multiple ways: from innovative local projects to international events (such as the 2014 100 Years Young! I recently had a lunch with one of our volunteers who has been the liaison of several AFS students in a local chapter. Most Chinese parents will demand that their children get high marks in every exam and even encourage them to attend various kinds of specialty classes to learn arts, dance or musical instruments so that they can earn extra credits when they take entrance examinations. Chinese parents tend to care so much about their children’s studies that they don’t ask them to help in any other daily tasks. It is also important how many Chinese people interpret the parent-child relationship, where children’s individualistic traits are not cultivated.
With the rapid growth of social economy, China has become a more popular destination for visitors and foreign exchange students.
These are some of the questions that were discussed on Monday 30th September 2013 at the AFS Educational Advisory Council meeting in Colle, Italy. The AFS Educational Advisory Council was established in 2006 to help guide AFS’s global education and research efforts.
The traditional picture of group learning happening in the classroom or at least in a physical space that the learners share together is not the only way how knowledge is  shared and acquired in the second decade of 21st century.
Today, we are featuring a list of free webinars for Interculturalists offered by our colleagues from the field. Too see the full overview of events and a link to a free book about Diversity, visit the original list in a blog post put together by fellow interculturalists Vanessa Shaw and Sabrina Ziegler.
The link between foreign language learning and culture learning has been established by the linguists and anthropologists a long time ago. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages has concluded that through the study of other languages, students gain a knowledge and understanding of the cultures that use that language.
Culture is often taught implicitly, as a part of the linguistic forms that students are learning.
However, it is also important to help students understand that cultures are not monolithicand so a variety of successful behaviors are also possible for any type of interaction in any particular culture. Provide students with authentic materials – Watching films, news broadcasts or TV shows can provide students with ample information about non-verbal behavior, such as the use of personal space, eye contact or gestures. Compare and contrast proverbs – Apart from being very informative about the two cultures, proverbs can lead to a discussion about stereotypes or values represented in the proverbs of both cultures. Use role plays – They especially support students in making the shift in perspective from their own culture, which can become a strange one and is looked at from the outside, and the target culture, which becomes more familiar.


Research cultural items – While also practicing their presentation or writing skills in the target language, the students can inform their classmates about an assigned item from the foreign culture and contextualized the knowledge gained. Students as cultural resources – Many classrooms nowadays are very culturally and ethnically diverse and they often have exchange students from foreign cultures or returnees from an exchange program in the target culture.
We strongly encourage you to also look at the our series ICL …for friends of AFS and find more culture related topics which can be used in the classroom, as well as some deeper explanations about the terms mentioned in this post.
AFS Intercultural Link BlogThe AFS Intercultural Link Blog is a space for sharing ideas, articles, materials, videos and recommendations related to Intercultural Learning, as well as the digital version of the AFS Intercultural Link Newsletter. This continuous professional development (CPD) programme is aimed at professionals who wish to develop their leadership skills.
This (CDP) programme is aimed at professionals of all levels who would like to improve their leadership skills and for organisations who wish to develop talent from within.
In an uncertain job market, many people compete for the same positions, whether they are internal or external competitors. Peter, a former Professor in Philosophy, became a leadership educator and executive coach some 15+ years ago, seeking to apply his learning and ideas ‘Philosophy in Business’ practically to help leaders at all levels enhance their capacity to lead.
At a recently held UN ECOSOC Youth Forum some of the key figures claimed that youth is central in creating a better future for all. Read more in this that post comes to us from Ana Carolina Cassiano, a Fellow for the Intercultural Link Learning Program at AFS International. But engaging youth in the implementation of the Agenda goes beyond that, it puts young people at the forefront of change and development.
In this scenario, one of the main roles for young people is the innovative use of social media and new technologies to promote mobile education and awareness regarding the SDGs.
Choong-hee noted that a fundamental action to achieve not only the targets related to this goal, but for all SDGs is to promote Global Citizenship Education: “through GCE we develop a sense of belonging to a global community, mutual respect, solidarity, tolerance and understanding. But beyond that, it is also our role to continuously support youth in taking action to implement the 2030 Agenda. Margaret is the ICL Responsible and Volunteer Development Supervisor at AFS China, and a candidate for the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program International Qualified Trainer.
During our conversation, he told me that one of the European students, Benjamin, had asked him several questions and was puzzled by the family life in China, even though the he had attended AFS orientations where he learned more about Chinese culture.
Usually, the children don’t have much of a say in these issues, but rather parents exchange information among themselves and make sure their children belong to the right club or a group.
The primary requirement for children is to study hard, do well in exams and graduate from reputable universities so that they could have successful careers. From the social point of view, China was governed by feudal regimes for thousands of years, and the ideology of hierarchy penetrated into every aspect of Chinese people’s lives.
The encounter of different cultural backgrounds and ideologies has become inevitable and sometimes may lead to clashes. In conjunction with the IVth Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchange the group met at it’s annual in-person meeting to discuss key trends in (intercultural) education and the implications of these for AFS worldwide . Comprised of both distinguished and up-and-coming thought leaders from the wider intercultural realm, Council members represent a diversity of disciplines ranging from communications and cross-cultural psychology, to anthropology and management sciences.
In AFS Intercultural Programs, we see and appreciate the value of various virtual learning opportunities and we encourage the community of AFS volunteers and staff as well as others to seek and use on-line resources that can help us improve our work in the intercultural field (check out the list of on-line resources on this blog). They cover a variety of different topics, they are all in English, happening at different times and most importantly, they are all coming up soon. Moreover, students cannot truly master the language until they have also mastered the cultural contexts in which the language occurs. To make students aware of the cultural features reflected in the language, teachers can make those cultural features an explicit topic of discussion and bring them to the forefront when appropriate.
Teachers can make it possible for students to observe and explore cultural interactions from their own perspectives to enable them to find their own voices and language egos in the second language speech community.
On the other hand, reading authentic fictional or non-fictional materials can also be a good introduction about the values and norms of the target language culture. Furthermore, proverbs and idioms form a significant part of every language and knowing them is a plus for every learner.
They can be invited to the classroom as expert sources and share authentic insights into the home and cultural life of native speakers of the language. Participants will gain an understanding of leadership roles and they will develop their skills and knowledge to lead, supervise and to manage resources effectively to achieve organisational and personal goals.
She started her journey with AFS two years ago as a staff member of AFS Brazil after finishing her BA in Social Sciences and participating in a young professionals exchange program in Norway.


Youth is no longer seen only as “the future” or supporters to sustainable development, youth is the present and actively engaged in shaping the discussions.
Currently, a group of AFSers is working on “The AFS Green Paper: Empowering young people for a bigger, better, strong AFS”. She was an exchange student to Japan and holds a Master degree in Intercultural Communication at Communication University of China. Benjamin thought that it was strange that his host brother only had to do school-related work at home, while his parents did almost all other chores for him.
Therefore, family education is the most basic and important education model of the society.
The reason for this on one hand is children’s own good, as in a populated and highly competitive society like the Chinese, good academic scores can probably guarantee a bright future; on the other hand, it is a traditional value orientation that parents will be respected if their children have great achievements in society.
It is considered that ideas such as hierarchy and other values of Confucian ethics help coordinate interpersonal relationships and the power disparity of feudal society, and construct appropriate communication order, which is the precondition for good interpersonal relationships and the foundation of the feudal country. Family education is an integral part of culture, which also shapes one’s social and interpersonal orientation to some extent. They meet annually to share their insights about developments in the field, provide views from their areas of expertise, and inform AFS’s strategic plans, all in a voluntary capacity. Follow the link at the bottom of this post to register for the webinar most appealing to you!
Linguistic competence alone is not enough for learners of a language to be competent in that language.
It is of utmost importance that cultural information be presented in a nonjudgmental way which doesn’t evaluate the distinctions between the students’ native culture and the culture explored in the classroom.
These materials also help the students improve their language skills, especially in terms of listening and understanding written texts. Promoting change and multiplying the effect of our “learning to live together” philosophy is part of who we are and what we do.
She facilitates intercultural trainings for target groups of volunteers of all ages with a focus on cultural awareness, cultural adaptation and cultural values in non-formal education settings. The parents criticized the host brother if he didn’t achieve the best results in school tests and exams.
Given the importance of family education, parents put more and more effort in educating their children and helping them grow as persons. Therefore, Chinese parents are willing to self-sacrifice and give up their own time, hobbies and interests in order to provide better conditions for their children. Even now, such an ideology still has a great impact on parent-child relationships in China: since early age, children are taught that parents stand for absolute authority and dignity, and that the young need to be obedient to the elderly. Understanding key factors of Chinese family education and other cultural norms helps to understand and appreciate the Chinese way of life.
From simple, everyday things, like forms of address to appropriate ways of expressing disagreement, culture forms an integral part of the language learning curricula. Claire Kramsch uses the term “third culture” of the language classroom to describe an ideal learning environment, one where learners can explore and reflect on their own and the target culture and language.
Leadership exists all around us, but so much of it present goes unnoticed and it uncherished, at the expense of organisational success and social well-being. Choong-hee also called attention to the importance of intercultural exchanges as part of non-formal education initiatives to promote GCE.
Benjamin also noticed that his Chinese brother didn’t make his own choices even on relatively small matters such as picking out clothes or food.
In any case, in order for communication to be successful, language use must be associated with other culturally appropriate behavior, not only linguistic rules in the narrow sense. He was shocked when his host mom opened his door and came in without a knock for the first time, while for her, it seemed like a very natural and common thing to do.
Benjamin’s liaison explained to the boy that what he had observed could be put down to the difference between the approaches to family education in his home country and China.



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