AFS Antarabudaya Malaysia staff Sophie Ismail and Vimal attended a three-day YES Partner Meeting and two-day Volunteer Summit in Washington, DC last month. Despite Covid’s many challenges, both events were conducted successfully and as planned.
YES partners from Indonesia, Philippines, Mozambique, Turkey and South Africa joined Malaysia at the meeting where for the first two days, every partner met separately with AFS-USA about both the YES Sending and YES Abroad programs. Several issues were discussed including hosting realities, Covid challenges, placement potential, and recruitment.
On the third day, there was a group discussion and sharing session with all partners. Everyone shared their best practices of recruitment, hosting, sending, and support. As Antarabudaya Malaysia had just concluded its National Selection Camp (NSC) and were preparing students for departure, it shared how NSCs were conducted back home and the meeting also mapped out strategies for conducting virtual roadshows known as Engage to Exchange (E2E).
Participants also discussed a new program which was just introduced, the American Leadership Experience (ALEX). Several key elements such as the objectives of the program, eligibility of participants, and outline of the program which might take place next year were explained at length.
A Volunteer Summit took place after the YES Meeting concluded. Volunteers from across the USA attended this summit. They were also representing Advisory Groups (AG) such as hosting, sending, support, sponsored program and travel. These AGs are meant to discuss and identify challenges and strategies among themselves for the upcoming cycle and share the challenges they faced. Sophie and Vimal took this opportunity to share their opinions and perspectives with the American volunteers, both from the National Office and volunteer point of view.