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Students were political canvassers, escape room artists, physicists, fashionistas, inventors, thought leaders, collaborators, activists, change agents, and boat builders, among many other identities, during Project Week 2019.

AFS Event Promotes Intercultural Dialogue
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Lena Klier '20, Renu Kumari, and Janet Sam-Kobba.

For the first time in Pingry's nearly 60-year partnership with AFS (American Field Service), and with the assistance of AFS New Jersey volunteers, the AFS Club organized a panel with three exchange students in an effort to promote intercultural learning and dialogue.

"This event was six months in the making," says AFS Club Co-President Alisa Chokshi '19, who has been working with Co-President Alison Lee '20. "It is important to understand different cultures and reevaluate our own. The goal of AFS is to take this type of panel on a 'caravan' to New Jersey high schools."

Pingry students, faculty, and staff listened to presentations by Lena Klier '20, Pingry's 2018-19 AFS student from Austria; Janet Sam-Kobba from Sierra Leone; and Renu Kumari from India. Janet and Renu are visiting the United States courtesy of AFS and YES (Youth Exchange & Study, funded by the U.S. State Department, provides scholarships for secondary school students from countries with significant Muslim populations). All three spoke about their native countries and compared life at home with life in the U.S. What is their advice for those who plan to study abroad? Have an open mind, approach people, and try new things.

Janet's final message to the community: "Embrace international education. Be part of a program or be a host family. Most importantly, don't judge—other ways of living are not right or wrong, just different."

Contact: Greg Waxberg '96, Communications Writer