© 2022 Global Citizen Year. All rights reserved.

At Global Citizen Year, we’re on a mission to equip inspiring young people from around the world with the perspectives, skills, and networks needed to create a positive impact in our complex and interconnected world.

In our first ten years, our global, immersive Fellowship served over 1000 extraordinary young people — solidifying our track record of helping young adults become engaged, powerful global citizens. By fully immersing them in a new community, surrounding them with powerful and dynamic peers, and mentoring them to activate their full potential, we launched a critical mass of young people whose positive impact reverberates across communities worldwide.

At the onset of the pandemic, we paused our Fellowship and pivoted to launch the Academy — an accessible, virtual offering that served nearly 1500 young people during an unprecedented era.

The Academy proved to be truly transformational — in the words of our Academy alum Angela Busheska: “This community is pure magic — it unleashed a new dimension in my life. I learned who I am, what I stand for, what my mission is in this world, and most importantly, how I can make the world a better place." We are proud to share the stories and data that illustrate the Academy’s impact.

Our pandemic pivot helped students develop the human skills and the hard skills needed for a lifetime of positive social impact. The Academy proved how a virtual learning community can further our goal of providing impactful learning experiences to students across the globe.

These new convictions, data, and learnings will be invaluable as we design our next era of virtual, hybrid, and immersive programs. We are truly grateful to our team, our allies and supporters and to our students — it is an absolute honor to support these incredible young people as they develop the insights, skills, and networks needed to drive lasting, positive change.  

Chief Executive Officer


Erin Lewellen

Global Citizen Year recruits talented young people from across the globe who are committed to building a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. Using the formative transition into adulthood, we help them shape their values, identity, and purpose in ways that classroom learning alone cannot.

Through the Academy, a student in Romania identified education reform as the issue central to her personal purpose. She developed her Social Impact Proposal on this theme: designing a free summer tutoring program for 60 children from marginalized families in her community.

After workshopping the proposal with her peers and instructors, this student successfully put her plan into action. She raised funds, recruited ten volunteers, designed an engaging curriculum, and ultimately gave 60 children who otherwise couldn’t afford extracurricular activities, the opportunity to practice their creativity, make friends, and explore their potential.


We partnered with an external research group at Harvard Business School’s Human Flourishing Program to understand how Global Citizen Year Academy impacted the lives of our program graduates. Through pre- and post- surveys relying on scientifically-validated measures, the Harvard University research team found that graduates grew in the core competencies of the Academy by a statistically significant margin. Further, when compared against a matched control group, Academy graduates demonstrated statistically more positive growth than their unenrolled peers.

The Academy brings together a distinctly global cohort of young people who are united by their hope and conviction that together, they can solve society’s most urgent problems. Upon graduation, students join an active alumni network – nearly 2,000 strong! – fostering a lifetime of cross-cultural collaboration.

Global Citizen Year Academy gave me the opportunity to connect with like-minded but diverse people from all around the world. It made me realize there are places where problems are the same, and we need to join hands together to tackle them. I am working together with an alum on my social impact project. I'll be addressing the problem in my country and he will be addressing it in his country."

Rakshak Kapoor, Age 20

I worked with an alum in the United States to find interviewees for his podcast sharing perspectives from Africa. I helped him get in touch with natives of three African countries to share their stories.”

Bertrand Dushimumuremyi,
Age 20

Between 2010-2022 we earned over $10M from student tuition and college partnership fees, and raised over $56M in philanthropy from individual philanthropists and leading foundations — such as the Enlight Foundation, the Mackenzie Family Foundation, the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, and many others.

Harvard University researchers found statistically significant improvements in the following HUMAN SKILLS in students who completed the Academy:

Happiness & Mental health

Harvard University researchers found statistically significant growth in Academy students.

Clarifying their sense of self

Global perspective

College readiness

Over 95% of students also developed the following HARD SKILLS:

Giving & receiving feedback – 100%

Collaboration & Teamwork – 99%

thinking – 99%

Critical thinking – 99%

Analytical skills & Problem-solving – 98%

Presentation skills – 98%

Project management – 96%


In the last two years, we equipped young people across 89 countries with the skills and network they need to drive positive change on global social issues.

We are committed to advancing equity and inclusion by investing in young people who reflect our society’s diversity.

are students of color



received financial aid

Our sliding scale tuition is unique among leadership opportunities, and it allows us to include exceptional young people from all financial backgrounds.

Both during the Academy and after, students 
form meaningful connections with peers from diverse lived experiences.

On average, students gained 9 friends outside of their typical cultural context and/or geographic region.

Over 90% of students have contacted a fellow alumni following the program.


Students develop a deeper understanding of their strengths, purpose, and identity.

Guided by expert instructors and alongside global peers, students investigated essential questions like: What is my purpose? How can I have a positive and sustainable impact? Through our research-backed curriculum, students learn about themselves, the world, and their role at the intersection.

Course: Leadership As A Practice

Through our 12-week course, students gain concrete leadership skills to drive change in their community and the world.


Students are matched with a personal mentor for one-on-one support to reach their leadership goals.

Speaker Series

Students attend virtual conversations with experienced leaders addressing challenges across the globe.

Social events, activities and opportunities to collaborate enhance the learning experience.

Global Student Community

Students turn insight into positive action with the development of Social Impact Proposals.

From a foundation of self-discovery, the Academy curriculum expands to community development and global citizenship, guiding students on how to put their values into action. As a culminating project, students transform their purpose, research and analysis into a tangible and actionable Social Impact Proposal that they can use to create positive change in their community. This multi-phase project includes conducting a root cause analysis, applying the principles of asset-based community development, proactively engaging community members, and delivering a pitch of their final proposal.


of students created a Social Impact Proposal connected to their personal mission, helping them move a project that was meaningful to them forward.

About half of these students continued work related to their Social Impact Proposal following their completion of the Academy.

Case Study: Educational Equity in Romania

Denisa Mentea, 
Age 22 

Other Projects Include:

Education Reform 
Developing a curriculum for local schools to encourage civic engagement. 
Arman | India.

Social Justice

Creating a platform for artistic expression of inclusive feminism. 
Yimin | Norway.

Human Rights 

Addressing food insecurity by building a food garden and educating the community on gardening. 
Beatrice | South Africa.

Poverty Reduction 

Creating an online platform to market impoverished craftsmen’s products. 
Parisha | India.

Climate Change
Developing a social incubator to address a community-specific water crisis. 
Victoria | Mexico.


Academy alumni share how Global Citizen Year helped shape their trajectory.


With a growing community of donors, we’re ready to scale our solution to reach more students and accelerate our impact.

Together we are launching a new generation equipped to change the world, for good.

Board of Directors

Elikem Tomety Archer

Chief Program Officer