Leadership, Ethics, Advocacy, Design Thinking

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


Each day, participants will get 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 means that some participants will join real-time (online) activities early in the morning or late at night.


GCI LEAD Challenge participants will gain the tools, resources and mindsets to be agents of positive change, empowered to advocate for themselves and their communities. As GCI alumni, they will join 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. Admission decisions will be sent out on April 23.


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 will start at 8:00am ET for a 3-hour session online, including small group work with peers from around the world

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

Tuition: US$950

  • A limited amount of financial aid is available

Technical Requirements: Participants will need access to a computer with a camera and an internet connection that will support Zoom.

Application Timeline

April 12, 2021 at 11:59 PM ET:

Application deadline

  • All application materials, including recommendations and parent/guardian forms, must be submitted

March 1, 2021 at 12:00 AM ET:

Application opens

April 30, 2021 at 11:59 PM ET:

Enrollment forms & tuition due

April 23, 2021:

Admission decisions sent

*Harkness® is a registered trademark of Phillips Exeter Academy.