Why we exist.
America and the world are experiencing a crisis of leadership. In the context of unprecedented prosperity, inequality is growing. In the context of unprecedented technological advances, we’re destroying our environment. In the context of our connected world, we are failing to address the global challenges that threaten our society, planet and future.
Overcoming these challenges requires a new generation of leaders who see the whole picture, who work effectively across lines of difference, and who are committed to more than short-term wins and financial gain.
History shows that ideas don’t change the world - leaders do. Each of our celebrated social change leaders has something important in common: at an early stage, they were shaped by formative experiences proximate to the problems they’re now solving. These experiences gave them the empathy, humility and vision to see opportunities where others saw challenges.
To move the world ahead we will need more leaders like these. Over the past decade, Global Citizen Year has pioneered a model that wraps education and instruction around real-world experience, and transforms the trajectory of our most promising young leaders.
What we do.
Global Citizen Year puts our Fellows a world ahead so they can, in turn, move the world ahead.
The year between high school and college is the most critical developmental moment in a young person’s life. Recognized by societies and religions alike, this transition – when done by design and not by default - can become a transformation.
Each year we recruit and train a talented and diverse corps of high school graduates from across America and beyond and support them through a school-year long immersion in communities in India, Brazil, Ecuador and Senegal. As Fellows, they live with a local family and work as apprentices supporting efforts in education, health, and the environment. Through training, coaching and structured reflection our Fellows develop skills and perspectives that guide their education, shape their character, and inform their leadership.
By staying longer and going deeper than typical study abroad or travel programs, our Fellows learn to speak to their hosts in their own language, and to see the world through new eyes. They gain the experience they need to solve real problems, the perspective they need to see new opportunities and the network they need to make change happen.
In the next decade, we aim to train 10,000 young leaders - the same throughput as the Ivy League, with the same outsized influence on society. Participation in Global Citizen Year will be a mark of distinction. Colleges will provide preferred admissions, financial aid and credit for our alumni, and employers will clamor to hire them. As our alumni move into positions of leadership across all sectors they will reshape policies to advance social mobility, re-engage America in the world, and drive solutions that create a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.
Beyond our Fellowship, using our model as a proof-of-concept we’re influencing sea-change in our educational paradigm. By partnering with colleges, policymakers, and our own alumni we will ensure that, one day, a “global year” becomes a rite of passage and the hallmark of a world-class higher education.