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The Global Youth Leadership Institute


                    The Global Youth Leadership Institute turns the world into their classroom.

                    Students tell us how they are making a real change in their communities and schools through their Leader Learning Plans. 


The Global Youth Leadership Institute is a non-profit organization formed by educators in response to the events of 9/11. By creating a program for other educators and students to use, GYLI fosters a better understanding of global issues, resulting in collaboration and positive change for students that will (hopefully) become our future leaders.

GYLI creates unique learning environments for students based around their "four pillars" curriculum: Collaborative Leadership, Environmental Sustainability, Religious Pluralism and Multicultural Identity. Programs range from an overnight camping trip for 8th graders to tCosta Rica/Panama trips for seniors. Each program has short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.

I caught up with GYLI's Executive Director Matt Nink and John Schilder, Director of

International Programs, as they reunited with a group of students they took to Costa Rica and Panama this summer. The trip focused on environmental sustainability and cultural understanding. Students spent time at the agricultural school Earth University in Costa Rica learning about ways to use the land for sustainable farming and development.  In Panama, they visited the canal and learned about the tray that's going through the country. The also visited the Smithsonian Institue  to learn about Panama's fragile ecosystems. The trip included home-stays where students lived with a family from the region for a few days.

Each student is required to work on follow-up projects called Leader Learning Plans (LLP).  The LLP's require each student to work with their schools and peers to implement an new project in their community. The work they do on their LLP's and with the GYLI program will be the subject matter of their college essays and influence their college majors.