Announcing the GCI Fellows 2018!
Updated: Jul 24, 2018
We are thrilled to introduce you to the GCI Fellows 2018!
In just a couple of weeks, the 28 Fellows from all sectors of society and all corners of the globe will start their GCI Fellowship by gathering at the Global Citizens Youth Summit 2018. All 28 will become part of our global community where individuals embrace their unique colorful stories and cultures as they design and implement solutions to global issues that transcend social, economic and political boundaries.
This year's cohort represents 22 different cultural heritages, speaks 27 languages, and studies in 24 schools in 11 countries! And over half of them are on needs-based financial aid to take part in the GCI Fellowship.
School: Westminster School
Home Country: United Kingdom
"My family has taught me that absolutely anything is possible as long as you work hard. My father moved to the UK from Sri Lanka when he was only 18 years old to escape from the war and my mother did the same soon after. My parents knew only very basic English and had no money. My dad had never stepped outside of his village community in Sri Lanka. My parents couldn’t afford a university education, but immediately worked hard to make money from a small corner shop. They lived together in a small box room just above the shop, where my sister was born… My parents worked 24/7 and never took a break. I have learned that there will always be hardships you must suffer and challenges you must face, but if you work hard, there will also be success. My parents started from nothing and their story has inspired me to have grit and strength of character."
School: The Cathedral and John Connon School
Home Country: India
"My mother had a tough childhood where her mother left her and her siblings when she was only nine. Being the oldest sibling, she was handed a lot of responsibility at a young age. She has taught me gratitude... forgiveness and not to hold grudges against others. My father was handed the company at the tender age of 17. He has taught me the values of responsibility and accountability and to never take things for granted. My grandmother volunteers and teaches English to underprivileged children in a girl’s convent. She would regularly take me there to play with the children and it was here that I decided that I, too, would love to make a small difference in their lives. My family has played a fundamental role in nurturing and molding me into who I am today. My character is a reflection of all the values they have instilled in me."
School: King School
Home Country: United States
"I have lived a truly multi-cultural existence, as my mother is from Venezuela and my father was born in Chicago. Most of my extended family on my mother's side still resides in Venezuela… My family has ingrained in me a passion for studying international issues and appreciating other cultural ideas. My parents have also taught me the importance of honesty, respect and integrity… My mother has served on numerous boards and spent her earlier career trying to establish the rule of law in Latin America. My father has created important initiatives for the disabled community. I have tried to follow their example. I formed Caritas for the Levant at the age of 12 to foster an understanding of the plight of religious, ethnic and LGBTQ minorities in the Middle East before ISIS' atrocities became front page news. In high school, I have turned my attention to the Hispanic community and diversity issues, forming El Foro Hispano, serving on diversity leadership councils in my school and as a junior member of the Center for Prevention Services to help at risk Hispanic teens."
School: Wellington College
Home Country: United Kingdom
"Being loud. Not in the sense that they are noisy and annoying, but in the sense that they are very clear and forthcoming. If there is an issue, it isn't avoided around the dinner table just because it may start a disagreement; debates are encouraged and our conversations thrive through our differences of opinion. Bringing up issues to the table helps solve them faster and has taught me to keep an open mind to other takes on any given topic. This aspect of my family life has influenced my values and characteristics and allowed me to be more vocal with my opinions. When I am with my friends, we often discuss politics at great length and I believe that it is no coincidence that most of my friends are in the debating society at school along with me."
School: Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa
Home Country: Tanzania
"I come from a household where my parents could hardly agree upon anything: my father is a progressive thinker and identifies as agnostic, whereas my mother’s beliefs are heavily borrowed from her conservative Islamic beliefs. The two diverse parenting styles that they exhibited gave me the room to form my own opinions on matters such as religion, politics and ethics. One common value that both my parents shared, however, was the importance of using education to better my community and lead a life of service. This has helped me foster a sense of civic responsibility and driven me to engage in service-related pursuits. Another way in which my family has influenced me is through teaching me never to succumb to peer pressure and always remain focused on my aspirations."
School: International Academy, Amman
Home Country: Jordan
"Despite growing up in several foreign countries, I was taught to maintain my mother-tongue, Arabic, as my parents believed it to be the basis of my identity, despite the confusion it inflicted on me while living in Australia. This created loyalty towards my customs and traditions regardless of the distance between me and my country… My mother has taught me perseverance and strength. An example of this is my transfer to a new school where, at first, I felt out of place and my gr