The world is evolving rapidly. Yet we need to embrace inclusivity at a different pace. We are all diverse, and our differences can generate various viewpoints, contributing to creativity and innovation. Valuing each member of society in your close circle or in general and providing an inclusive environment is a way to support everyone in achieving their potential. Throughout EFIL’s work and events, we always strive to contribute to creating an increasingly inclusive AFS network. For us, inclusivity lies in every aspect of our teamwork, from the small daily details to vast, multifaceted matters. 

In line with this concept, inclusivity is a guiding principle of the Volunteer Summer Summit. When talking with volunteers, working on the event preparation, or thinking about possible VSS activities, we always do our best to include everyone’s needs, identity, and perspective. 

How do we want to make the VSS an inclusive event? We started the preparation phase with an inclusive approach, meaning that we want to make the VSS a place where everybody can feel safe, free to be themselves, and to express their identity in the ways they feel more comfortable with. Starting from a group reflection on pronouns, we asked participants and the volunteer team to indicate their preferred pronouns (if they wanted) to be sure we respect everyone’s identity while talking and working together. For the same reason, people who indicated them will have their pronouns printed on the nametags during the VSS. This is not only a technical aspect, but it means giving people the opportunity to feel comfortable in society and feel they belong and are accepted there. Therefore, inclusivity gives everyone a chance and a safe space regardless of gender, age, any orientation, identity, race, religion, or disability. AFS and EFIL follow these steps to create an inclusive environment, one of their most important values. 

To further support participants in the VSS to make them feel included and comfortable, we will have a Trust Team of designated volunteers who will be there to help you and preserve inclusivity during the event. Do you want to know more about our Trust Team? Don’t miss the 3rd Newsletter, as we will introduce the team and give you more information about it!