From Roberto Ruffino’s speech on the occasion of receiving an honorary doctorate in Intercultural Learning from the University of Padua:
*) Council of Europe, Conference on Intolerance in Europe, 9-11 December 1980, Report, CEJ/CI (80) 14, page 39 of the English version.
At AFS, we are committed to intercultural learning as the primary means by which we hope to achieve a more just and peaceful world. While there are strong academic and theoretical traditions in intercultural learning since the middle of the 20th century in many countries, intercultural learning as we know it can only take place in the context of developing relationships with people from other cultures. The AFS program supports and guides students through the intellectual, emotional, and even physical aspects of learning to live, relate to others, communicate, and behave appropriately in a different cultural setting from the one in which one was born. Through the process of intercultural learning, AFS students understand themselves and their own culture more deeply, and develop an intense curiosity about others and an enduring respect for other traditions, languages, beliefs, values, and ways of life.
Dr. Bettina Hansel
Director of Intercultural Education and Research, AFS International