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2020 high school graduates worldwide


Sept 8 - Dec 18, 2020


Sliding Scale from $500 - $7,500

Application Deadline:

August 11

If the $500 deposit is prohibitive you can request to be considered for a Shawn Mendes Foundation Scholarship with demonstrated need.

The Academy Experience

Grace Sander & Luke Field, Global Citizen Year '19, Georgetown University & Claremont McKenna College

Global Citizen Academy is an intensive leadership experience equipping diverse high school graduates with powerful and practical skills for a lifetime of social impact.


This is your education on purpose

Global Citizen Academy offers an engaging blend of interactive online learning, workshops with leading innovators, real-world projects, and peer collaboration.

Explore the sample schedule below to get a taste of the exploration, community, and growth that’s possible with Global Citizen Academy.






Global Systems & Society

Explore the complex relationships between human behavior, group dynamics and society.

19 students / 90 minutes

Leadership As A Practice

Build a foundation for living and leading with purpose.

19 students / 60 minutes

Leadership in Action Series

Get inspired by today's most innovative leaders through fireside chats.

60 minutes

Global Systems & Society

Explore the complex relationships between human behavior, group dynamics and society.

19 students / 90 minutes

Learning Groups

Form deep connections and collaborate with a small group of global peers.

4-5 students / 60 minutes


Global Systems & Society

90 minute course meets twice a week on Forum with 19 students per class.

What does it mean to be a social being? Why do people commit crimes? How can we feed the world? What prevents individuals and organizations from solving problems effectively? These are just some of the questions we’ll explore in Global Systems & Society. In this course, you’ll learn to examine social interaction through the lens of complex systems theory, which provides a powerful framework for understanding human behavior and group dynamics. Through engaging sessions, case studies, and discussions, we’ll dig into topics including Equality, Conformity, Emergence, and Justice. You’ll learn to recognize how you are embedded within many different complex social systems, and how you can apply your understanding of these systems to improve interactions and society.

Students have the option of receiving 4 college credits for the Global Systems & Society course. Accreditation is through Minerva Schools at KGI and requires an additional $300 fee.

Leadership As A Practice

60 minute course meets once a week on Forum with 19 students per class.

Who are you? What is your purpose? How can you have a positive, responsible, and sustainable impact? These are some of the most important questions for leading effectively and designing a meaningful and fulfilling life. In Leadership As A Practice, we’ll explore these questions in the context of Self, Community, and Impact. Throughout the course, you’ll uncover insights about your identity, worldview, and values. You’ll learn to analyze critical issues in your community and connect them with a broader, global context. And you’ll identify and plan for purposeful ways you can make a positive impact now and in the future. The perfect course for when you (and the world) are in transition, Leadership As A Practice will help you build a foundation for living and leading with purpose.

Leadership In Action Series

Participate in fireside chats with some of today’s most innovative leaders -- ask them your questions and learn from their insight and expertise! The fireside chats will open with 30 minutes of moderated discussion followed by 30 minutes of Q&A with Academy students. Our growing list of speakers includes:

Julie Lythcott-Haims, Author, fmr. Dean, Stanford University

“You’re going to emerge with a much clearer sense of self. You’re going to arrive on your college campus much better prepared to hit the ground running.”

Seth Godin, Author, Teacher, akimbo.com

“This is your year. Your semester. Your chance to actually learn something and not simply follow the path. This is your chance to do work that matters.”

Priti Krishtel, Co-Executive Director, I-MAK

“Leadership is humility and trusting your own wisdom in consultation with an eclectic ‘kitchen cabinet.’”


Learning Groups

60 minute session meeting once a week on Forum with 4-5 students per learning group.

Learning Groups provide an opportunity to form deep connections with a small group of 4-5 peers from around the world. Each Learning Group is matched with a trained mentor who will provide support to you and your peers, helping you stay on track and in your stretch zone. Learning Groups will meet at least once a week for discussion and reflection, to collaborate on projects, and to support each other in achieving your goals.

Personalized Mentorship

Connect one-on-one with mentors from around the world. Academy students will have access to a Mentor Directory that includes experts from a wide variety of fields and Global Citizen Year alumni who are now college students and young working professionals. Build your network and get valuable advice from mentors who are eager to provide guidance on topics spanning college, career, personal growth, and how to make an impact.

Volunteer with our Impact Partners or Pursue an Independent Passion Project

Independent time available every afternoon, Friday, and weekend.

Ground your coursework in real world experience -- whether through volunteer work, paid work, or independent passion projects. Global Citizen Academy can help connect you to voter’s right campaigns, education access programs, as well as racial and social justice organizations that are making an impact right now and need support from young leaders like you. Global Citizen Academy is partnering with impactful organizations across the U.S. and the world such as Sunrise Foundation, TED Translate, When We All Vote, and more! We’ll help you reflect on the issues that call to you, and connect you with opportunities to get involved.

The Academy coursework will require a 10-15 hours per week commitment, leaving flexibility for you to volunteer, engage in the issues you’re passionate about, earn income or take classes.

Know an organization that would make a great volunteer placement? Send us your suggestions and a contact person if you have one to info@globalcitizneyear.com.


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Gus Ruchman

Access to Technology

Globally, the ability to connect, learn, and be informed has become more and more dependent on the internet and computers. Increasing access to technology can help to broaden opportunities, and increase socio-economic mobility.

Rujen Amatya


Education is a tool of upward mobility across the globe. Now more than ever, learning takes many forms and happens across multiple platforms. There are many ways to make an impact, such as tutoring kids or translating educational videos!

Nicholas Montano

Environment & Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues in our world today. Leaders across many sectors are finding innovative ways to help protect our planet. There are many ways to get engaged -- from research and data analysis to local farming co-ops.


Gender Equality & LGBTQ Rights

Sexism and homophobia in the home, workplace, and healthcare are barriers that create inequality for many. Organizations around the world are advocating for change and there are many ways to take a stand including local advocacy and policy research.


Global & Public Health

The current pandemic has dramatically exposed the disparities in healthcare access around the world. Organizations, practitioners, and experts across the globe are working together to improve health outcomes and you can be a part of these efforts.

Black Lives Matter

Racial & Social Justice

Racial inequity has plagued many nations for centuries, contributing to systemic wealth inequality, human rights violations and trauma. Across the world, calls for racial and social justice are sounding louder than ever, and you can be part of this change.



Voting is the hallmark of democracy and helps ensure that all voices are represented in government. In the United States, the 2020 election is an opportunity for young people to organize their communities and promote civic engagement.

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Reflect & Prep

On average 2 hours each Monday - Thursday according to your own schedule.

Reflect & Prep activities will complement and enhance what you learn on the Forum. Activities might include self-reflection, a design-your-life exercise, reading a case study, starting a gratitude journal, or completing a community needs assessment and root cause analysis.

Student-Led Clubs & Events

Opt-in clubs, activities and events organized by students.

We invite you to co-create the Global Citizen Academy experience with us. Got an amazing idea for a club, activity, or event? We want to hear it! With so many aspiring young leaders coming together, we’re excited to see what ideas you have for book clubs, movie nights, affinity groups, and more.


How much does this cost?

We are pleased to offer a sliding scale model for Global Citizen Year Academy with tuition ranging from $500 to $5,000 (full tuition) on a payment plan schedule. We offer a 10% discount at each tuition tier to those families who wish to pay tuition in one payment.

Thanks to the support of our donors, we also have a limited number of need-based FULL SCHOLARSHIPS and deposit-only ($250) payment plans.

We ask that you pay at the highest level of the sliding scale that you can afford. This allows others who need to pay less the opportunity to attend. For more details, visit our page on Tuition & Financial Aid.

What's the time commitment?

Students should plan for an average weekly commitment of 10-15 hours a week. Each week students will engage in:

  • 5 hours on the Active Learning Forum participating in engaging courses with faculty, peers, and cross-sector leaders from across the globe.
  • 10 hours completing pre-work, reflections, and course-related projects, both individually and as a group.

When does the semester start and end?

The inaugural semester will run from September 8 - December 18, 2020.

What's the Forum learning platform like?

Learn more about Minerva’s cutting-edge Forum learning platform here.

How do I apply?

Click on the APPLY button to submit your online application. It should take about one hour to complete.