GSL World Summit – ‘a summer of a lifetime at Wellington College’

‘GSL was hands down the best experience of my life. Ever since then I have gained confidence and become more aware of the problems in this world and what I can do to change them. I have been doing my project to help the homeless and I want to be more involved in GSL and definitely want to return next time.’ Those inspiring words come from Deryn, one of 46 participants who took part in this year’s GSL World Summit in August. This transformational 12 day leadership journey was held at Wellington College in Berkshire, hosted by Future Foundations and the Wellington Leadership Institute.

Now into it’s sixth year the World Summit was also attended by specially selected guests and social innovators, educators from some of the most forward-thinking schools globally and ambassadors from Wellington College.

Representing a huge range of cultural experiences and backgrounds participants aged 15-17 came together to exchange ideas, consider different leadership models and discuss how they can make a positive impact in their own, diverse local communities. They departed with toolkit of skills, knowledge and a renewed passion to make a difference to the lives of others. Our team of experienced facilitators were hugely impressed in their ability to work together to create innovative solutions to social issues and the way they grew in confidence and supported one another throughout the programme.

What makes GSL World Summit so special?

The 6 Key ingredients

1. Participants from around the world

All participants that take part in the programme have to apply or be nominated by a teacher to secure a place. We know the motivation and experience of each participant before they come to Wellington College. This ensures that we have an exciting and varied mix of personalities representing different cultures and backgrounds. We are always open to give young people an opportunity as we believe that the programme can be a springboard to their leadership journey, as one of our participants reflected When I filled out the survey to go to GSL world summit there was a question that asked; what is your proudest moment/the best moment of your life that you’re proud of? And I didn’t have an answer or anything near it. However now after spending 2 weeks at the boarding school I know that being part of GSL was my proudest moment and I am blessed to have had the opportunity’

2. Passionate Staff

Future Foundations has a huge network of inspiring facilitators that grows every year. For many of those inspiring individuals working on GSL World Summit is a highlight of the year and a huge privilege to be involved. This is my 4th World Summit and each year I feel even more privileged to be part of it. It’s impossible to pick a single moment, but my highlights included my team reflection sessions, sharing music from our countries and catching up with my colleagues about who had inspired them that day, Team Coach. The recruitment process is very hard as each person who applies is extremely passionate about world issues and youth development. Our facilitators have practical experience of running their own social actions programmes and are change makers in their local communities.

3. Unique Content

We believe in constant and never ending improvement based on feedback that we collect from participants, teachers and staff. The narrative of the programme has been carefully designed over the years with new content introduced each year to keep the programme fresh and up to date with the changing needs of young people. It’s a balanced mix of fun activities, serious reflection, group games and individual tasks that helps participants to gain new levels of self-awareness. The best part of the content is created by the participants as they have an opportunity to take part in a Culture Festival , a Talent Show and deliver an Inspiring speech for that gets recorded and shared with the world. GSL Video available

Watching the students give their GSL inspire speeches reminded me of why we do this work. They brought a courage, determination and authenticity to their presentations that we all have inside us.

The talent show was a showcase of students from around the world, sharing culture, talent and a lot of laughs. We saw students really come to life on stage,

4. Inspiring Guest Speakers

Every year we invite business leaders and guests that are at the forefront of social change. This year we had the privilege to host:

Alex Bell – Founder, Portland Education. Alex draws upon 30 years of experience in education and outreach at school, local authority, national and international level. Alex keynote helped our participants to link 17 SDGs with their passion.

Hannah Cowie – Founder, Tamay&Me. Hannah is a social entrepreneur who is helping women to earn a sustainable living and to maintain their textile heritage. Hannah’s talk was a great lesson of patience as each piece of embroidery can take up to six months of work to produce.

Laura Niehorster – Founder, Proud Pads. Laura created are a sustainable solution to end period poverty worldwide by selling environmentally friendly hygiene products. Laura’s energy and drive captured the imagination of our participants. GSL Video available

Simon Cohen – Founder, Simon has extensive experience of working in PR for social causes. He is famous for giving away a million pound company to spend more time with his young family. Simon keynote delivered some sound advice on life balance and pursuit of passion. GSL Video available

Katerina Vittozzi – News reporter, Sky News, Katerina is an Award-wining TV news reporter and videographer who helped our participants understand how to get media coverage and report their impact in an effective way.  GSL Video available

OpenIDEO London Chapter – Design Thinking workshop delivered in the second week of the programme helped participants harness their creative energy and laid the foundations for their project plans. GSL Video available

5. World Class Venue

We believe that environment plays a big part in helping you connect with your fellow participants and getting the most out of the programme. GSL World Summit is held at Wellington College in the stunning English countryside of Berkshire. Wellington College, founded in 1859, is one of the world’s top co-educational day and boarding schools, combining innovation with 150 years of history. You can find more information about our host here 

6. Loving Atmosphere

To best illustrate the atmosphere of the programme please read the following quotes from our GSL Ambassadors and a member of our Pastoral Team.

The Programme was an eye-opening experience even more me as an ambassador. It was an environment I felt gave the opportunity for people to really be themselves and feel comfortable in their own skin when sharing opinions, creating ideas and communicating with others. The content in the programme was interesting and engaging and I thought that it was relevant and useful for the participants as the things they learnt and developed were transferable into life after the programme.

When we first spent free time outside in the college gardens, it was a warm summers evening and, I was playing games with a group of girls from China and India and despite maybe slight language barriers I felt like I was playing these games with people I had known for such a long time, it was like all our differences and opinions and judgements were put aside and we just accepted each other. It was so nice to feel like you were somewhere with people that accepted you for you and not what you looked like, where you were from or what school you went to, just you. GSL showed me how society should be and how important it is that I do something

I loved playing cards in the evening with the young people and seeing the GSL Inspire moments this year. Watching Asha present was brilliant and being inspired by Dharti talking about boys should be able to cry as it’s healthy for them

The transformation that happens from the first day to the last week is incredible. The participants establish lifelong connections and still continue to communicate to this day. Events such as the Talent show allow participants to really shine and provide excellent bonding opportunity. The participants this year really stepped up to the bar this year with their enthusiasm and passion. I wish them well and hope they can continue to collaborate between continents

GSL World Summit 2019!

We are excited and proud to announce that the application/nomination process for the 7th edition of GSL World Summit is now open! If you are 15-17 years old and would love to experience ‘a summer of a lifetime at Wellington College’ apply now.

GSL World Summit 5th-16th August 2019

There are limited places available and we assess each application within 48h of submission. If we reach our limit we will have to close the application process. Apply today to avoid missing out on this opportunity!

For more information visit GSL World Summit 2019 page.