In July 2019, CSIS partnered with AFS International to offer an Impact House for 18 partner directors from around the globe. AFS International is the parent organization directing and supporting 60 affiliated country offices, running year-long study abroad home stays for high school students. Through their programs, AFS seeds intercultural learning; ultimately, their vision is active global citizens, globalized schools and other institutions, and access to intercultural education for young people in under-served communities. Currently, AFS alumni number 1 million.
The AFS partner directors manage talented and complex teams of employees and volunteers, while also operating under the oversight of their boards. Participants at the Impact House represented Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ghana, Iceland, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Philippines, and Turkey.
This Impact House focused on developing skills in social impact and human centered design, and introduced models around evolving missions, developing pitches, negotiations, and change management. CSIS asked participants to embody mindsets around community building, play, creativity, empathy, and a bias towards action.
The cohort started off at Scribner’s Catskill Lodge in mountainous upstate New York. They spent the first five days in a more secluded environment, close to nature and enjoying freshly prepared, garden-grown meals. For the final two days, partner directors traveled to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.
On campus, partner directors presented their own pitches for new programs. Their presentations showed great thought leadership, and promising collaborations between countries. Partner directors walked away from the Impact House with clear next steps, and a more powerful community of support.
Want to know more? Take a look at this article by by Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS, and Lucas Welter, Organization Development and Strategy Officer of AFS.
Learn more about partnerships with the Center for Social Impact Strategy.