By: Fazri Hassan

Things went so slow and yet so fast for me during the second half of 2022. I was in the midst of chaos at work and the school academic calendar in July when I received a phone call from Antarabudaya Malaysia informing me that I was nominated to attend an Educators Workshop in New York, the details of which were blur to me at the time but I still said an emphatic YES and a huge thank you!

Fast forward to two weeks after the phone call when I received the amazing news that my nomination was accepted and that I was awarded a scholarship to attend an AFS Global Youth Assembly as a teaching representative from Asia. Yes, Asia!

Being able to attend an Educators Workshop and the AFS International Youth Assembly 2022 was indeed an experience of a lifetime. The event was held in several places around New York City. Among them were the United Nations, Convene Center and AFS International office.

As teacher delegates at the assembly, our workshop began on August 11th and 12th at the AFS International office. We were 14 teachers from around the world, namely South Africa, Paraguay, Uganda, Philippines and the United States. We kicked off the first day of the educators workshop with a quick ice breaker and getting to know each other. Later, we proceeded with our session by describing our expectations and motivations by using pictures and sharing them with the group.

The next day began with a discussion on Global Competence Education led by Prof Dr Veronica Boix Mansilla from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. We had a dialogue on the importance of Global Competence especially in a multicultural school setting. Some activities were done to give us ideas on promoting a more inclusive and global setting in our classroom. Later in the day, we had a session on communication skills and Sustainable Development Goals.

In the evening, we joined the rest of the delegates for the AFS International Youth Assembly opening ceremony. There were around 500 delegates from 100 countries there.  The opportunity to be part of this meaningful gathering meant so much to me.  As a special education teacher and a volunteer teacher for stateless communities, I put their interest as my top priority. The fact that I was able to speak up and to be their voice is the highlight of my advocating career.

The remaining days were filled with intense parallel discussions on several topics like transforming education for all, education in crisis for displaced persons and refugees, mental health, global citizenship, reality of human trafficking and many more. The event concluded with a fantastic culture fest.

My relationship with AFS and Antarabudaya Malaysia actually began in 2011 when I was selected to be a part of an exchange student program to Wisconsin, USA. It was indeed a life changing experience for me as it helped me grow and mature as a person and brought me to where I am now. Being able to represent Malaysia again after 11 years is truly a blessing. Never in my life did I think that I would have this second opportunity to represent Malaysia, and this time as a teacher, to the United Nations. I am in debt and forever grateful to Antarabudaya Malaysia for believing in me and continually affording me with opportunities to grow and achieve more in life.

Fazri with participants from other countries
Fazri putting forth a question at the Youth Assembly and watched intensely by AFS Intercultural Program CEO, Daniel Obst (Top and bottom)

Fazri in national attire at celebration dinner
Fazri at United Nations
Farewell photo with fellow participants