Our mission is to empower young global citizens from all sectors of society to be lifelong leaders of positive change.

1. Discussion-based Pedagogy and Philosophy

Discussions at the Summit follow a student-centric pedagogy that nurtures critical thinking through discussion-based learning. This unique teaching method convenes 12 to 14 students and a teacher around an oval table. Students arrive at each class prepared to examine the material assigned the previous day. In a successful student-centric class, the teacher serves as a guide only and intervenes infrequently; students largely moderate the conversation on their own.

The Summit faculty comprise seasoned instructors in this teaching method and facilitate the Summit’s academic discussions. Each session engages Fellows in conversations about global issues, presenting differing and at times opposite perspectives on specific topics.

The Summit’s discussion-based pedagogy and philosophy hones each Fellow’s ability to listen, provide constructive criticism and collaborate.

Harkness is a very different methodology from conventional teaching. The shift is simply shifting from a teacher-centric institution to a student-centric institution, and that difference is profound... The function of the teacher at the Harkness table is to be an advocate for the process, and the process is the conversation which is the collaborative inquiry.

Harvard Knowles, Emeritus Faculty at Phillips Exeter Academy

2. Design Thinking

GCI introduces Fellows to Design Thinking, a human-centric approach to problem-solving that provides a framework for developing implementable and impactful Glocal Service Projects.

Fellows define the problem they seek to address, observe the population they wish to serve, identify key insights based on their research, brainstorm potential solutions, and test and continuously improve those solutions until they arrive at an implementable project.  It is an iterative process.

Experiencing and executing the Design Thinking process requires Fellows to better understand their local communities and enables them to devise feasible and sustainable solutions to global challenges.

Design Thinking ensures that each Fellow’s GSP is poised for success.

Global Citizens Initiative exposes students to the benefits of design thinking at just the right time in their educational trajectory. Inculcated as we all are with importance of data driven decision making and the importance of rational structures as the products of our thinking, students can lose sight of the value of intuitive thinking, of the value failure, and the validity of multiple “right answers.” Design thinking plugs right into students’ emerging understanding of the complexity of their immediate and their global worlds. It informs them of the multiple paths to their success and fulfillment in our global society. It helps them to articulate their dreams.

Thomas C. Hayden, Partner at Educational Resources Development Group, Former Vice President for Enrollment at Oberlin College.

3. Human Connectivity

We live in an increasingly digitalized world where in-person human interaction is growing rarer and more valuable. The heart of GCI is the set of relationships and opportunities that befall Fellows beyond their Summit and GSP experiences.  Ambassadors are empowered to bring their learnings back to their local communities and engage with local peers – and each other – to launch their social endeavors.  Mentors provide guidance and support beyond the Glocal Service Project itself. GCI connects Ambassadors to opportunities for seed funding, internships and enriching educational programs through its ever-growing network of collaborative partners.

Our approach is holistic and the community is lifelong.