top of page


Leadership, Ethics, Advocacy, Design Thinking

The GCI LEAD Challenge was an innovative and carefully curated virtual program for secondary school students held from Monday, July 26, 2021 – Saturday, July 31, 2021. The GCI LEAD Challenge incorporated core components of GCI’s flagship program, the Summit, with a focus on Leadership, Ethics, Advocacy and Design Thinking.


Each day, participants got together to build key leadership skills and explore thought-provoking ideas: Harkness®* discussions led by Phillips Exeter Academy faculty, workshops led by Design Thinking experts and thematic sessions from inspirational speakers.

The magic of GCI—sparked by sharing ideas and building connections with peers from all over the planet—and the global nature of the GCI LEAD Challenge meant that some participants joined real-time (online) activities early in the morning or late at night.


GCI LEAD Challenge participants gained the tools, resources and mindsets to be agents of positive change, empowered to advocate for themselves and their communities. As GCI alumni, they have joined a lifelong global community, where they and other GCI alumni can support each other and continue their journeys alongside GCI staff, friends and mentors.

Image by Glenn Carstens-Peters

The application has now closed and the program has concluded.


Secondary school students (current freshmen, sophomores or juniors at the time of application and 16-19 years old by July 26, 2021) who are

  • committed to developing their leadership, ethics and advocacy skills

  • passionate about making a positive difference in their local and global community

  • eager to participate in group discussions about global issues

  • excited to build a lifelong community of peers across the world


If an applicant's first language or high school's language of instruction is not English, scores from the TOEFL iBT (over 95) or an equivalent, accredited exam must be submitted.


Dates: Monday, July 26, 2021 - Saturday, July 31, 2021

  • Each day, all participants started at 8:00am ET for a 3-hour session online, including small group work with peers from around the world

  • Participants also worked on activities on their own time before the start of the next day’s session

Tuition: US$950

  • A limited amount of financial aid was available

Technical Requirements: Participants needed access to a computer with a camera and an internet connection that supported Zoom.

bottom of page