2017 Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit

From July 22–29, 2017, Chicago Sister Cities International and the University of Illinois at Chicago presented the second annual Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit.

Nine Chicago students participated in the Summit from DePaul College Prep High School, Jones College Prep High School, Kenwood Academy High School, Lane Tech College Prep High School, Spry Community Links High School, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, Walter H. Dyett School for the Arts and Walter Payton College Prep.

They were joined by 16 international students from Chicago’s sister cities of Belgrade, Serbia; Birmingham, United Kingdom; Bogotá, Colombia; Casablanca, Morocco; Galway, Ireland; Gothenburg, Sweden; Hamburg, Germany; Kyiv, Ukraine; Lahore, Pakistan; Mexico City, Mexico; Paris, France; Prague, Czech Republic; Shanghai, China; Toronto, Canada; and Vilnius, Lithuania.

The participants had the opportunity to meet a number of women leaders in Chicago in a diverse cross-section of fields. The leaders shared their thoughts on leadership and discussed their path to success. Speakers included:

  • Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President
  • Bridget Gainer, Cook County Commissioner-10th District and VP of Global Affairs, Aon
  • Josina Morita, Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
  • Anna Valencia, City Clerk of Chicago
  • Shelley Stern Grach, Director of Civic Engagement, Microsoft
  • Melissa Albrecht, Global Operations Manager & Program Owner, Digital Manufacturing Technologies, UL
  • Teri Arvesu, VP of Content and News, Univision Chicago Local Media
  • Dima Elissa, CEO and Founder, VisMed 3D
  • Trisha Lukasik, Chief Operations Officer, SpotHero
  • Shibani Mahtani, Midwest Reporter, Wall Street Journal
  • Beth Marrion, Managing Director, Accenture
  • Coya Paz, Artistic Director, Free Street Theater
  • Vuyiswa Tulelo, Consul General of South Africa
  • Jennifer Wesley, Industry Leader, Travel, Google

Panel discussions and workshops gave the girls the opportunity to learn about self-empowerment and activism. They participated in workshops with Global Girls, Inc., Urban Initiatives, the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, {she crew} and the Protest Banner Lending Library, and had panel discussions around the topics of advocacy in environment, women in STEM, women in public service, arts and activism, women in communications and women in leadership.

The girls also had the opportunity to explore Chicago and learn about its history and culture. They visited Google’s Chicago Office, Millennium Park, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art, Univision Chicago, Navy Pier and the Art Institute of Chicago; toured Pilsen’s street murals; explored and dined in Chinatown; took a Chicago River Architecture boat tour; attended a luncheon with leaders in Chicago’s corporate and non-profit communities; and attended a welcome reception with Chicago Sister Cities International committee members and members of the Chicago Consular Corps.

On the final day of the Summit, the Global Youth Ambassadors delivered final group presentations at Chicago City Hall Council Chambers, where City Clerk of Chicago Anna Valencia spoke to them. They had a week-long project where they were asked to spend the week exploring the question, “What does it mean to be a strong, confident girl in your society?” On this last day, five groups presented their projects through video, spoken word, song, poetry, visual art, testimonials and slides in front of a public audience.

View the Full Summit Agenda

Thank You to Our Sponsors