SESP Fund Supports Global Engagement Summit Co-Chaired by Senior Joan DeGennaro

Joan DeGennaro

SESP senior Joan DeGennaro received a $1,000 grant from the SESP Opportunities Fund to support the 2013 Global Engagement Summit (GES). DeGennaro is co-chair of GES, a Northwestern initiative to develop leadership for solving global problems.

Northwestern's Global Engagement Summit from April 17 to 21 aims to build the capabilities of the next generation of change leaders for creating sustainable solutions around the globe. The Summit brings international students and nonprofit leaders to Northwestern.

With workshops on topics ranging from grant writing to community building, the conference builds skills for students' change-focused projects in global problem solving. It also connects them with a network of like-minded peers and global nonprofits. Approximately 75 Northwestern students plan and direct the summit each year.

DeGennaro reports that GES accepted 35 international delegates from a record 161 applicants. In addition, 39 U.S. students were selected as delegates, including several SESP students .

Keynote addresses will feature CEOs of nonprofits making an impact on communities. On April 17 Chris Balme, founder and CEO of Spark, will give the keynote address, and a closing keynote will be given by Will Byrne, founder and CEO and Groundswell, who was recently featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 List for Social Entrepreneurship. 

In addition to the April conference, this year GES held a daylong event on February 23 for Northwestern students. “It was in line with our goal to provide Northwestern students with the Summit experience and skill-building opportunities that we offer our delegates,” say DeGennaro and her co-director Maryam Adamu. The February 23 event featured workshops on topics such as conscious capitalism and art for social change. Maya Cohen, executive director of GlobeMed National, gave the closing keynote address.

GES was co-founded in 2005 by SESP alumnus Jon Marino (BS06). From the start, the School of Education and Social Policy has provided support for the Summit. GES is the only conference of its kind entirely run by students with the goal of providing undergraduates with skills to succeed at global social change.

DeGennaro, a social policy major, has been involved with GES since her freshman year. She has a strong commitment to positive social change around the world, especially in relation to women. After her freshman year, she interned in Bolivia at a soap factory and daycare center, helping women at the factory to market their product. The following year she worked in Malawi in the field of maternal health.

SESP undergraduates and student organizations may apply for Opportunities Fund grants to support their academic and community endeavors. The fund provides support for such initiatives as attending a conference, initiating community service or developing an extracurricular organization. The Opportunities Fund was established in 2009 through generous contributions from alumni and friends.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 2/26/13