Global Engagement Summit, Led by SESP Students, Prepares Young Leaders for Global Impact

Global Engagement Summit, Led by SESP Students, Prepares Young Leaders for Global Impact


SESP senior Nick Kazvini-Gore co-directed this year’s Global Engagement Summit (GES), a five-day student-run conference that develops leadership for creating sustainable solutions around the world. GES brings nonprofit leaders and delegates from around the world to Northwestern University.

With workshops on topics ranging from grant writing to community building, the conference builds skills for students' change-focused projects in global problem solving. 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.

Kazvini-Gore's co-director was fellow Northwestern senior Danya Sherbini, and the leadership team for GES 2014 included SESP students Diana Balitaan, Alexis Gable, Michelle Ki, Anisa Mian and Yasmin Gore. SESP alumna Megha Agrawal (BS10), who works with the anti-poverty nonprofit, gave a talk on “Design with a Purpose.”

Summit delegates included not only Northwestern students but also more than 20 American students from universities in Illinois, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Colorado, Florida and Texas. In addition, 13 international delegates came from countries including Italy, Nigeria, Thailand, Brazil, Rwanda, Uruguay, South Africa, Pakistan, China and the United Kingdom.

“Witnessing delegates begin to realize their own potential as well as the possible impact of their projects throughout the course of the summit after going through critical thinking workshops and collaborating with peers and mentors is extremely exciting and empowering,” say Kazvini-Gore and Sherbini. 

Highlights of the five-day conference from April 16 to 20 included a keynote presentation from Sara Potler LaHayne, founder and CEO of Move This World, as well as the annual Story Slam, where GES staff and delegates shared personal stories and experiences surrounding the theme of "silver linings."

The SESP Opportunities Fund assisted the co-directors with planning, recruitment and curriculum development. The Opportunities Fund, established in 2009 through generous contributions from alumni and friends, helps SESP undergraduates to pursue significant projects outside the classroom. 

Kazvini-Gore, Sherbini and their leadership team also planned GES Day on March 1 as a leadership training forum for Northwestern students.

GES was co-founded by SESP alumnus Jon Marino in 2005 with the goal of developing young leaders for innovative social change around the world.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/22/14