What is the conference about?
The world has seen many changes over the last year and a half. The climate crisis and COVID-19 pandemic have made us all re-consider and re-design experiences abroad and with differences. Youth exchange, volunteer years, studying abroad… many such plans were either canceled or transformed into online experiences. But does the virtual world enable the same kind of experiences? What falls short when we connect with others merely through our screens? Can we create more sustainable ways to experience differences? Can we build friendships and develop competences online? In other words: does virtual exchange work? If that question is on your mind, join us for this virtual conference!
Monday, November 15
Shifting from offline to online
The pandemic and the climate crisis have led us to rethink what was perceived as being something inherently offline: (youth) exchanges, learning programs and volunteer experiences. How have organisations been able to transform offline experiences into online encounters? In this panel we explore best practises and open questions.
Panel discussion with:
from oikos International
The Apprentice Asia winner
from The Experiment Digital
from the World Organisation of the Scout Movement
Tuesday, November 16
Creating accountability towards difference in online settings: a decolonial perspective
In this session, the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures Collective will share their experiments and experiences working with socio ecological collapses and what are the limitations and possible cracks of this kind of encounter through online settings.
from the University of British Columbia
from the Collective Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures
from the Collective Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures
Wednesday, November 17
How to bring the body to the online space?
In virtual experiences, what we miss out most often is our bodily experiences: touch, smell, movement, feeling the breeze and the atmosphere of a different place, connecting with others through hugs, eye contact and shared experiences of time and space. So what of that is possible in a virtual setting? Explore with us in this interactive journey.
Pa-Kua Tai Chi Cosmodynamics class with:
Pa-Kua Martial Art Master
Thursday, November 18
What can virtual exchanges look like?
Let’s open up the toolbox of existing virtual exchange programs: How do they look like? What works? How can these connections be made in an inclusive and sustainable way? These and more questions will be answered through four case studies of virtual programs for different audiences.
Case studies presentation with:
Ana Carolina Cassiano
from the Capacity-building for teachers program of AFS Effect+
from the Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum program
from the Shift - Connections for Change program
Friday, November 19
Creating connections online
What happens when you participate in a virtual exchange? On our last day, we invite participants to talk about their experience, focusing on the challenges and opportunities of creating connection and community online.
Panel discussion with:
Beybin Elvin Tunç
alumnus of the NOW Facilitathon
from the Gender Talk
alumnus of Soliya
Get to know more about the speakers
Adriana has been supporting oikos for almost ten years. She has co-created the oikos Leadership Programme (LEAP) and currently coaches and advises the oikos community. oikos is an international student community for sustainability in economics and management education. They empower and encourage student change agents worldwide to transform their local university ecosystems as they become the leaders our world needs.
Ana Carolina Cassiano
Head of Education Development at AFS Intercultural Programs and oversees the AFS Effect+ for the Classroom Program: a virtual capacity-building for teachers to develop and practice their own intercultural skills connecting with educators from around the world and learn about key concepts and principles of Global Citizenship Education.
Director of Global Partnerships and Communication at Soliya. Soliya is an international non-profit organization and a pioneering virtual exchange provider. Soliya combines the power of interactive technology with the science of dialogue to offer proven cross-cultural exchange and learning opportunities. Soliya’s work has been supported through strategic partnerships with the European Commission, the Government of Canada as well as by the Stevens Initiative of the Aspen Institute as sponsored by the US Department of State. In 2019, Soliya was recognized by Canada’s Global Centre for Pluralism as an Honorable Mention recipient of the Global Pluralism Award.
Beybin Elvin Tunç
Beybin has been working with humanitarian organizations in the field of migration and education. Based on this background, she is designing and facilitating learning experiences for NGOs, educational institutions, and youth organizations. Since her work is based on exchanges between people, between cultures, between borders; at first, she thought this is the end. After two years of organizing virtual intercultural exchanges, building and sustaining communities online, managing teams remotely, making new cyberfriends, participating in a few trainings simultaneously (such as the Facilitathon), and more importantly doing all those things in pajama bottoms… Now she thinks this is just the beginning.
Camilla is an empathetic Brazilian professional passionate about combining her background in advertising, marketing, and graphic design alongside her project management skills and holistic approach to plan and execute purpose-driven communication strategies and events. In parallel to that, Camilla is the creator of @vibramaisalto, a project based in Rio that aims to provide a space-lab for collective connection through individual liberations.
Camilla is co-founder of Terra Adentro and member of the collective Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures. In her researches and work as a facilitator, Camilla explores systemic transition and possibilities of decolonial perspectives - focused on social justice and wellbeing intertwined with the living earth. She is also part of the network TEIA DAS 5 CURAS, a collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers from Brazil (Pataxó, Huni Kuin, Pitaguary, Fulni-Ô, Tremembé), Peru and Canadá. As co-founder of the project This is not the truth, Camilla had experiences with investigative video making and has released the documentary-series What is Emerging.
Founder, co-facilitator & co-ordinator of the group of Gender Talk, a community initiative for non-binary, trans and gender questioning people.
Gender Talk’s mission is to support and empower gender-diverse people in Romania, and to create more dialogue around gender issues. They provide a space for community building and learning for people of all gender identities, with a focus on trans and non-binary persons and perspectives. Gender Talk aim to build bridges between people of all genders by finding places of connection rather than separation, exploring the diversities of gender expression we all embody, and creating tools to challenge the oppressiveness of gender norms.
Dino is a researcher, educator, facilitator, writer and activist working on the interactions between ecological crises and systemic violences and on experimental and counter intuitive ways of learning that involves embodied practices as a way of finding deeper possibilities of being in and with the world. He is also part of the collective Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures, the Ecoversities Network with an authorial project called Terra Adentro and the network Teia das 5 Curas.
Passionate about facilitation, Elis is a specialist in creating engaging spaces and connecting people. She grew up in Florianópolis, Brazil, and her master's degree took her to the USA to study new education paradigms. For years Elis worked with facilitation and training design for AFS until she became Head of Training. In this role, Elis was responsible for developing training for more than 50 thousand volunteers of the organization, in more than 60 countries. Concomitantly, Elis co-founded NOW to develop and test new methodologies. Today, she coordinates the methodologies and products area of Instituto NOW.
Jonathan is a trainer and his expertise focuses on the psychology of understanding live vs. virtual interaction (and how its applicable to all industries and daily life). He is familiar with the industry and have accomplished consultation projects with organizations like AFS and StudyGroup. Jonathan has been invited by universities, sales-driven organizations (Microsoft, Unilever, Coca-Cola), and conferences in the past to discuss strategies and tactics on how to engage audiences that were used to experiencing tactile situations. This is also applicable in virtual exchange programs in which participants were formerly engaging in live situations with their host families and environments - and are now pivoted to the virtual realm.
Katherine Hanson joined World Learning in March of 2020 as the Digital Program Officer to implement The Experiment Digital, an 8-week virtual exchange program connecting thousands of youths across the US, Middle East and North Africa. Katherine specializes in the development and implementation of online distance learning programs: including technological training and program curricula design. Katherine currently serves on the board of the Virtual Exchange Coalition with the goal to grow the field and make international exchange opportunities more accessible across borders and boundaries.
Kefiloe Mokoena was born and bred up in Soweto, South Africa. He has fifteen years of experience in the development area and has a burning passion for community development and youth empowerment in Africa. He is a consultant facilitator, knowledge and process manager on GIZ’s YouMatch Programme for building effective employment services for youth in Africa and the MENA region. Through his company Star Blac resources, Kefiloe develops trainings and moderates for organisations in civil society and works around intercultural learning, partnerships, organisational development, and community engagement.
Fluid and harmonic moviments. Pa-Kua Tai Chi - Cosmodynamics is the study of the traditional forms (martial arts sequences) in a smooth and harmonious way.
In this class we are going to train and study different themes drawn from traditional forms, sequences of movements, breathing exercises and meditation (mainly meditation with movement).
Come with us and increase the serenity in your day.
Program Coordinator for the Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum program, implemented by the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan. Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum is an action-learning course, funded by the Stevens Initiative, on international business cultures that brings together students from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, and the U.S. The program equips young people in the U.S. and MENA region with the competencies they need to communicate, problem-solve, and collaborate in a global team environment — all essential 21st century skills in an interconnected world.
Initiator of the Shift - Connections for Change program. Shift is an international virtual program that focuses on one's role as a changemaker. It allows participants to explore the reality of an existing changemaker in another part of the world and develop their own changemaker competencies, learning more about themselves and exploring about the impact they want to create in the world.
Rana is a learning experience designer and facilitator. She specializes in the design of autonomous, self-organized, and participant-led learning experiences, particularly in virtual settings. Currently, she works as a trainer with Re:Coded on the development and delivery of its online cohort-based Graphic Design program which aims to introduce design as a community building tool for women in Iraq.
Re:Coded - Empowering under-represented youth through transformative learning experiences
Shrouk is from Egypt and is currently living in Poland. She studied Media and Mass communication at faculty of Arts, and now work as a Cross-cultural dialogue facilitator, and a project manager. Shrouk also is the Founder of Yellow vs Blue initiative, is passionate about mental health and supporting youth globally, loves to meet different people, exchange knowledge, reflect and communicate peacefully. Shrouk got the chance to be a participant in many virtual exchanges (like with Soliya, NOW, IofC Switzerland, and MCW Global in New York), then becoming a facilitator because of the great change that happened to her. because of them.
Manager, Diversity & Inclusion for the European Scout Region of WOSM, the world’s largest non-formal educational youth movement. Sian can now add ‘digital facilitation wizard’ to her portfolio, after adapting World Jamborees, International leadership academies and inclusive Scout practices to an at home and online world. She is a passionate non-formal education specialist, human rights education trainer and D&I HR professional, currently leading the D&I Strategic Priority for the 40 member organizations in European Region. What online means for a connect humanity is monumental, however the dangers of creating further inequalities are increasingly apparent – let's be brave, but stay grounded!
Tamila dos Santos
Facilitator and social entrepreneur. Tamila is passionate about education and during her career she faced difficulties to be able to study. That's exactly why she built a career focused on Social Impact. With studies and training in Social Innovation, internal journey and different courses to develop skills, she learned to build a career with meaning and impact, uniting entrepreneurship, personal management and social change. Through her company, Afroimpacto, she helps people to access education in a simple, fast and practical way.
Vanessa Andreotti is a professor and Canada Research chair in Race, Inequalities and Global change at the University of British Columbia. Her research examines historical and systemic patterns of reproduction of inequalities and how these limit or enable possibilities for collective existence and global change. Her work in this field include analyses of political economies of knowledge production, discussions of the ethics of international development, and critical comparisons of ideals of globalism and internationalization in education and in global activism, with an emphasis on representations of and relationships with marginalized communities.
NOW is a not-for-profit association based in Switzerland. Our mission is to boost social change by empowering young people to find their own path and contribute to a better society. It was founded in 2016 and is fully volunteer-driven. NOW is our lab in which we try out new programs, build a community of like-minded individuals and organizations and offer them and ourselves opportunities to grow and support each other mutually.
The Conference is supported through
Mercator Foundation Switzerland.