Budapest, Hungary - Policymakers, educators, NGOs, and educational institutions, including the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) gathered in Budapest, Hungary for a conference on Global Competence from 26-28 September 2018. Organized by AFS (formerly known as American Field Services), the conference, themed Global Competence: Our Future, Our Responsibility, highlighted the importance of global competence in the 21st century and the role that various stakeholders play— the policymakers, government agencies, nongovernment institutions, and educators— in making sure that the youth of today have the necessary knowledge, skills, and understanding to create positive and harmonious relations with people across all cultures within their work environment, and the world, in general.

In the opening plenary session, Representative of the UN Secretary General, Ms. Simona-Mirela Miculescu emphasized the role of teachers as models and mentors of global competence. Meanwhile BP Group Regional President, Peter Mather, articulated how important cultural skills are in the work environment; adding that a workforce that is curious about others, and can communicate effectively with people across all cultures and various cultural contexts is necessary in today’s interconnected world.

Apart from the insightful plenary sessions, there were also experiential learning sessions which were centered on the following themes: (1) Defining Global competence as an essential 21st century skills, (2) Empowering primary and secondary school teachers, (3) Fostering global competence in higher education and professional development, and (4) Aligning all stakeholders.

The conference brought together more than 400 leaders and practitioners from across more than 70 countries including LPU Cavite (Philippines), Harvard University (US), Colorado State University (US), Kent State University (US), Ohio University (US), Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Amsterdam), Dhofar University (Oman), Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary), Ministry of Education Malaysia (Malaysia), Fulbright Hungary, OECD, Asia Society, UNESCO, UN, British Council, US Peace Corps, European Commission, among others. - M. M. Abayan

Speakers share insights during the plenary session on The Global Competence Education Imperative at the AFS Global Conference in Budapest, Hungary.

Photo credit: AFS Intercultural Programs