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  • Writer's pictureGCI

Summit 2018 Press Release

Updated: Sep 4, 2018


High School Students From Around The World Arrive For Nine Days

To Learn How To Make A Social Impact In Their Home Community

Over The Next Nine Months

Cambridge, MA (July 27, 2018) – Continuing its focus on empowering youth to be social changemakers, Global Citizens Initiative (GCI) is excited to announce this year’s Fellows, a diverse group of 28 high school students, holding 18 different global citizenships and speaking 27 different languages. These rising juniors and seniors will spend the next nine days at the fifth Global Citizens Youth Summit (Summit) in Cambridge, MA connecting with peers with similar visions as well as learning from experts and each other regarding how to take steps towards making change happen and becoming citizens of the world.

“We are thrilled to welcome the newest members to our growing community. We look forward to discovering each Fellow’s special talents and to developing their passions,” says Yumi Kuwana, Founder and President of GCI. “Our vision is to foster an ecosystem where individuals embrace their own and others’ distinctive stories and cultures while they design and implement targeted solutions to global issues that transcend boundaries.”

At the Summit, Fellows will learn critical thinking skills and hone their ability to listen and gain a wide range of perspectives through discussion-based learning conversations. Design thinking workshops will introduce students to a new approach to problem-solving and innovative thinking that will enable them to develop and refine their service projects. Lectures will be delivered on the topics of Engagement, Ethics, and Excellence. The Summit, however, offers far more than just an academic experience. Deeper connections between the cohort are encouraged through cohabitation and shared meals, self-reflection journals, off-site team building exercises, and hearing from inspirational speakers.

This year, Fellows will hear from Kevin Zhen, a GCI Ambassador from the 2016 Summit currently attending Yale University, who will share his unique journey. Professor Linda Hill of Harvard Business School, an expert on global leadership, will talk about “collective genius and leading innovation.” Chuck Goldstone, founder and CEO of Strategies and Stories, will impart valuable insights to help Fellows learn how to tell their story. Other notable speakers include Dr. Seung Kim, Professor of Developmental Biology at Stanford University, Joshua Margolis, Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School and Jack Meyer, CEO of Convexity Capital Management LP.

Fellows will be guided through the Summit by Teaching Assistants (TAs) who attend top universities and who help to direct their learning and collaboration. One unique characteristic of the program is that many of the TAs are returning Fellows, known as Ambassadors after completing the Fellowship. This year, GCI will welcome back five Ambassadors.

“I am excited to impart my insights and guide a new group of Fellows though what I consider to be a life-changing week,” stated Takunda Rodney Ushe from South Africa. “The people that I met at the Summit are now my extended family. The bonds we formed run deep. I truly cherish this opportunity to help other Fellows open their minds to new thoughts and ways of thinking, to witness new friendships forming, and to help them craft their own service project.”

After the Summit concludes, Fellows are ready to take the next step in making their impact as a global citizen. With an assigned mentor from the business world to help guide them, each fellow selects one of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and tackles an issue ‘glocally’ by addressing a global issue, but on a local level. They will spend the subsequent nine months refining their project scope and then launching their initiative. Past Fellows have launched endeavors that provide clean drinking water through the use of inexpensive, proprietary purifiers in Kenya, offer showers to homeless in LA, and advocate for LGBTQ rights in Hong Kong.

Fellows are selected after a rigorous application process which includes submitting short essays, a personal video, high school transcripts, and two teacher recommendations. This year, GCI welcomes an artist from Mumbai who wants to educate underprivileged children, a sports enthusiast from New York who hopes to combat institutional segregation in public school systems, an Iraqi-born soccer player who wants to help refugees in his adopted community in California and a violinist from Kenya who plans to promote equity by reducing governmental corruption. It is an inspiring cohort, representing a reservoir of young talent ready to focus their energy on bettering their home community in a small, or sometimes big, way.


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