The AFS Academy is a cross-disciplinary training event that spans over two weeks and provides AFSers (board members, staff and volunteers) and friends (representatives of like-minded organizations, academicians, teachers, local educators) with learning and networking opportunities in a campus like setting.

Participants of the AFS Academy create their own schedules choosing from a variety of training courses, keynote speeches by experts, panels, roundtable discussions, social events and cultural activities.

Laura Camis De Fonseca

Laura Camis De Fonseca is a renowned, well-traveled Italian entrepreneur. In 1963 she was one of founding members of the first Italian cooperative for footwear retailers and started building a retail chain. In the late 60s her nose for business led her to import slippers from China and in 1972 her company became the Italian sole distributor of Chinese footwear. Throughout the years her company De Fonseca grew larger and well-known with factories in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Bulgaria and Italy. 

She is the  founder of the non-profit foundation Camis De Fonseca that promotes the study of history, anthropology, and geopolitics through seminars and trainings for teachers and students. The Foundation has recently started a challenging project that consists in transforming pre-existing materials into short videos that will be available on line for teachers and students. She has been a member of the Intercultura Board of Directors for 6 years and she was an AFSer herself (USA 1956-1957). Laura is very passionate about different cultures: she hosted many AFSers at home in the past and offered to be a host family for many other students from all over the world.


Dr. Sivasailam "Thiagi" Thiagarajan

Thiagi is the Resident Mad Scientist at The Thiagi Group, an organization with the mission of helping people improve their performance effectively and enjoyably. Thiagi's long-term clients include AT&T, Arthur Andersen, Bank of Montreal, Cadence Design Systems, Chevron, IBM, Intel, Intelsat, United Airlines, and Liberty Mutual. On a short-term basis, Thiagi has worked with more than 50 different organizations in high-tech, financial services, and management consulting areas. For these clients, Thiagi has consulted and conducted training in such areas as rightsizing, diversity, creativity, teamwork, customer satisfaction, human performance technology, and organizational learning. Thiagi has published 40 books, 120 games and simulations, and more than 200 articles. He wrote the definitive chapters on simulations and games for ISPI's Handbook of Human Performance Technology, ASTD's Training & Development Handbook, and the American Management Association's Human Resources Management and Development Handbook. Internationally recognized as an expert in multinational collaboration and active learning in organizations, Thiagi has lived in three different countries and has consulted in 21 others.


Dr. Fred Dervin

Dr. Fred Dervin is a Professor of Multicultural Education at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He holds a PhD in linguistics from the University of Turku (Finland) and a Doctorat ès Lettres in language and intercultural education from the Sorbonne (Paris, France). He specializes in language and intercultural education, the sociology of multiculturalism, and linguistics for intercultural education and communication. Some of his recent research themes include: academic mobility and migration, the construction of identity and otherness, multi-modality and digital technologies, and innovative approaches to intercultural communication and education. He is the editor of the International Journal of Education for Diversities and the book series Post-Intercultural Communication and Education, and Education Beyond Borders. Fred Dervin has published extensively on these matters in English, French and Finnish. His most recent books are Cocoon Communities (2013) with Mari Korpela, CSP; Le concept de culture: Comprendre ses détournements et manipulations (2013), L'Harmattan; and Linguistics for Intercultural Education (2013) with Tony Liddicoat, Benjamins.


Dr. Richard Harris

Richard was born in London, U.K., but has lived and worked in Japan since 1980. He is Professor of Intercultural Management at the Faculty of Management, Chukyo University, Nagoya, and has just served two years as Dean. He enjoys travelling and has visited almost every country in the Asia Pacific region, but also loves spending time at home in the Japanese mountains with his wife, Dorianne, and cat, Tama. His hobbies include hiking, reading, and watching films. Richard has written extensively on cross-cultural concepts of the ideal. His current research has been on the complex interactions of culture and physical space, which has also led to several publications and international presentations


Angela Coles

Angela has an international reputation as a media and presentation trainer. She worked for over 20 years as a journalist in magazines, newspapers and broadcasting. Angela trains programme makers and on screen talent for the BBC and Channel 4 TV to deal with media interviews as well as charities, public sector organisations and international businesses and democracy organisations in the Middle East and Africa.