How is Global Scholar different from other programs?

Global Scholar stands out from other summer programs serving high school students in many ways:

We focus on building global leaders who have both the knowledge and the skills to make our world a better place. Many programs just offer coursework. We go beyond the classroom to offer leadership and action training and inspire students to put their new skills into action through our ongoing work on global issues. We spent about half of our time learning from experts, offices and institutions.

In addition, we prioritize learning from the communities most impacted by issues. Over 50% of our speakers are youth leaders, and over 50% are based outside of the US.

Our popular Action Lab workshops give you advanced training you won’t get anywhere else, focusing on: Systems Thinking and Complex Problem-Solving; Diversity and Inclusion; Dialogue and Conflict Resolution; Strategic Action Planning; Activating your Story, Values and Vision; and Ethical Decision Making.

We offer unique and unparalleled space and community. Nowhere else will Scholars be exposed to the brightest young minds thinking about global issues in a “can-do” way.
Scholars develop real projects or actions during Daily Challenges and a Final Project, which they actually launch during the program. They can apply for small funding to continue this work after the program, too, too.

Global Scholar is part of a broader youth movement of concerned, young global citizens. The experience extends way beyond the session; participants enter a family of student leaders affecting change on their campuses and in their communities. Over 100,000 youth have participated in our programs since we were founded by students at Yale after 9/11, and our alumni have gone on to lead student organizations; work for international organizations, the UN, the State Department and more; participate in prestigious gap year and language programs; and enroll at top institutions like Harvard, Columbia, Yale and the University of Chicago. Most importantly, they’ve developed a good sense of how they can have an impact on issues they care about, and launched their careers with a firm sense of purpose and strong set of skills to succeed.

We’re affordable. We’re run by a national student organization, and we charge just enough to cover our costs. You’ll find that our programs are significantly less expensive than comparable summer programs. This isn’t a business for us; we’re not out to charge students and their families exorbitant fees to participate. Rather, we see this program as our contribution to empowering a generation to build a better world. We offer a Pay-What-You-Can model, scholarships and can help you fundraise from family and friends to attend.

How is Global Scholar different than taking a class?

Global Scholar goes way beyond traditional learning. Through very interactive workshops, seminars, small-group activities, and engaging assignments and projects, Global Scholars not only learn information, they practice and refine how to apply their new knowledge and skills to their lives. Our driving belief is that it’s not just what you know in the world, it’s who you are and what you do to make it a better place.

Only through our powerful mix of content, alongside a group of equally inspiring peers, and driven by this urgent moment in time, will Scholars truly get the skills and the support they need to be global leaders.

I haven’t studied these issues before – does that matter?

Global Scholar is intended to be an intense introductory program. Although many of our participants have had some exposure to global issues, for example through school or travel, it’s definitely not required (and many others don’t). The only thing that’s required is an interest in exploring global challenges like poverty and climate change, as well as the US role in addressing them. Sessions introduce key issues and concepts, and background readings and assignments provide additional depth. The sessions move at a quick pace, and even those who are familiar with these issues will be challenged to deepen their understanding even further. This is particularly true during the Action Lab, when Scholars design their own project or event.

Who teaches the global issue seminars?

Unpacking the greatest global challenges facing us today is a cornerstone of the Global Scholar experience. Learning happens through seminars with experts with deep and hands-on experience working on the issues we discuss throughout the program, from climate change to global health to the rights of women and girls.
Past speakers include: Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins; Former US Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman;
Asia Jackson, Actress and SKNFLUENCER Founder; Omer Kanat, Founder, Uyghur Human Rights Project; Franklin Morales, Head Of Commercial and Economic Development Affairs, Embassy of Panama; Niamh King, Deputy Director, Aspen Strategy Group, and many, many more. Check them out on the website (Under Global Scholar -> Speakers).

In addition, we meet with many young leaders of organizations, movements and campaigns, too. This is a true highlight of the program, reinforcing our founding premise that young people have the knowledge and skills to be leaders in this work. Recent youth speakers include: Renata Koch Alvarenga, Founder and Director of EmpoderaClima; Marie Claire Kaberamanzi, Girls’ Education Advocate with Malala Fund; Wadi Ben-Hirki, Ashoka Fellow and Nigerian Activist; and Sahana Kaur, Chair of Amnesty International Malaysia’s Youth Committee. Check out our Global Youth Visionaries on our website to see a fuller list.

Check out the list of last year’s fantastic speakers on the website here: https://ampglobalyouth.org/global-scholar-speakers/

Who are the program staff?

Global Scholar staff are experienced leaders, educators, change makers, and advocates. Our longtime program director Karen Showalter has led the program the past twelve years, and has over 20 years of experience working on global and domestic policy issues. Training Director Aris Hines has extensive experience as a global educator in both the US and the Philippines, and is a recognized designer, artist and playwright.

Our summer staff always includes program alumni, who return to give back to the program. The final line up is usually announced in May.

Who teaches the Action Lab workshops?

Our Action Lab workshops are a highlight of the Global Scholar experience, and a real standout feature of our program. These aren’t your generic public speaking seminars. We offer transformative experiences that engage, uplift, and challenge participants. Workshops are led by our experienced youth trainers. We also welcome many exiting guest trainers into the program, too.

Do Global Scholars get grades, a certificate, credit, and/or recommendations?

Global Scholars will receive certificates upon successful completion of the program, and staff will happily write recommendations for college or other applications. We do not provide grades or credit, although we are happy to work with you to apply for credit at your school if applicable. And of course, the Action Lab gives Scholars a concrete project to share and launch at the end of the experience, which is a great resume-builder! We also offer a host of leadership opportunities following the experience.

How many students are in the program?

We place a premium on providing a small-group experience. A typical session is about 15-18 students. We break each session into smaller cohorts of 5-8 for discussion groups and project work.

How many scholarships will you offer, and how do I apply?

We strive to ensure the Global Scholar experience is as accessible as possible, which translates to our approach to staffing, recruitment, programming, technology, and scholarship support. We offer as many scholarships as possible, depending on funding. Most of our scholarships are partial, and they do not cover transportation to / from the program. In 2022, over 45% of the class received partial or full scholarships to attend Global Scholar.

The first step is to apply to and be accepted to the program, after which we’ll share information on how to apply for a scholarship.

What are you looking for in essays / participants?

We look for participants who are curious about the world around them. Scholars should be inspired to learn more about global challenges, and their role in addressing them.

Is there an application deadline?

We have rolling admissions, but our sessions fill quickly in the spring, and we encourage you to apply by that date to ensure your top choice of session.

When will I know if I’ve been admitted?

Expect a response within two weeks of your application date. Please let us know if you need a quicker response … we’ll see what we can do! Contact us any time at globalscholar@ampglobalyouth.org.

Do you send nomination letters to students?

We do not. Global Scholars are referred to us by a teacher or classmate, or find us via our other programming.

We’ll also be frank: most programs sending “nomination letters” have bought your data and are sending these letters to tens of thousands of students to market their programs. We don’t believe in buying your data, and are driven by our mission not profits.

How does the payment system work?

You can choose to pay your program fee in one or multiple installments. Once you’re accepted and confirm your spot, we’ll enroll you in the program after which you’ll be able to see payment options.

What is the Power Up?

WE offer virtual programming to complement our in-person programs, the highlight of which is the Power Up! This summer, we’re offering three Power Up dates in June and July. Each Power Up has a specific issue and regional focus, for example our first focuses on the youth climate movement in Brazil. These events focus on bringing youth from around the world together for meaningful dialogue our our greatest shared challenges. They are part convening, part dialogue, and all inspiration.
* Power Ups are not required of Global Scholars. You can register for as many as you choose. We know summer schedules can be very busy.

How is the Washington, DC program structured? (DC Program)

Here’s a snapshot of a typical day in D.C.:
8am: Breakfast
9am: Group check in and welcome to the day
10-11:30am: Meet with experts at the Aspen Institute (downtown) to discuss global security
11:30-12:30pm: Lunch and walk by the White House
2-4:30pm: Systems Thinking Workshop (on campus)
5:30-6:30pm: Dinner
7-9pm: Social event or project work

What are the dorms like? (DC Program)

This summer, Global Scholar is once again returning to the beautiful Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The campus is green and peaceful, yet it’s very accessible to downtown D.C.

We split our time between campus and downtown Washington. Many of the policy seminars take place in offices in downtown D.C., while many of the skillbuilding workshops take place on campus at American.

Scholars stay in one of the dorms, along with our staff. They are placed in well-equipped double or triple rooms, and share a bathroom with others on their hall. Laundry facilities, snack machines, a tv lounge and many other amenities are available in the dorm. Everyone entering or exiting the building must show a university ID. This is a real college experience!

We share meals in one of the dining halls on campus, which offers hot items, a nice salad bar, daily specials, and plenty of vegetarian items. The cafeteria can accommodate other dietary needs like gluten-free and allergies. A coffee shop and a couple of fast food restaurants are also located nearby. Please contact us with specific questions about dietary needs or concerns: globalscholar@aidemocracy.org.

How do you ensure student safety? (DC Program)

Safety is our top priority. Georgetown is a quiet and safe campus. Our staff live in the dorms with Scholars. Entry is only permitted with a key card. Although our days are full, Scholars will have a bit of down time to play frisbee, go to the gym, or relax with friends. At all times they are required to inform our staff of their whereabouts, and travel in groups. Scholars are not permitted to leave campus, or travel anywhere in the city, without Global Scholar staff.

All of our program staff complete background checks, mandated reporter training, and safety training, and Scholars agree to a set of student and community agreements at the start of the program which outline our expectations and requirements for participation.

We are very happy to answer additional questions about safety and security during the program.

How do I find campus on the first day? (DC Program)

Upon registration Scholars can opt for us to pick them up / drop them off at their points of arrival. Our program starts at 6pm on the first day.

Washington has good public transportation, and we use it as much as possible. We will share details on arrival / departure, rooming assignments and more with those admitted to the program. Please contact us with questions: GlobalScholar@AMPGlobalYouth.org..

What other costs will Scholars be responsible for paying? (DC Program)

The program fee includes room, board, materials and the program itself. Scholars are responsible for paying for transportation to/from Washington DC, supplemental meals or snacks, and spending money. Scholars are also expected to pay for lunch on the two days we sight see downtown. Although it’s hard to estimate, a reasonable amount of spending money might be $50/week.

What’s the structure of the virtual program? (Virtual Program)

Here’s a snapshot of a typical day in the virtual program:
9-9:30am: Group check-in and welcome to the day
9-11am: Seminar on a global challenge
11-11:15am: Break
11:15-12pm: Small group discussions
12pm-12:30pm: Lunch break. Optional lunch tables, but Scholars are encouraged to turn off screens
12:30-2pm: Action Lab Workshop
7-8pm: Optional social event in the evening (quiz night, dance party, etc.)

While Scholars might have the occasional evening reflection assignment, more often they’re joining virtual social events hosted by our alumni. Virtual social events have included a virtual dance party, trivia night, campfire, and more.

What experience do you have running virtual programs? (Virtual Program)

We have been designing and delivering exciting online workshops for many years. The days will be full of seminars with issue experts, very interactive skills training, small-group conversations, individual and group projects, fun and relaxing activities, and more. The virtual program will also be able to welcome an even more diverse set of participants, including many from around the globe who would have more difficulty joining the Washington, D.C. program. Check out testimonials from our 2021 virtual program alumni on our website: https://ampglobalyouth.org/our-impact/

Is Global Scholar part of a larger organization?

Global Scholar is run by AMP Global Youth / Americans for Informed Democracy, a non-profit organization founded by students at Yale after 9/11 to help youth understand global challenges and build their skills for taking action. We are NOT a company, and our goal is to amplify the voices of as many youth as possible. We are mission-driven, not profit-driven.

Our goal is to inspire student conversation around the U.S. role in the world and key global challenges facing us today. These conversations are based on the premise that the U.S. does have an important role to play beyond our own borders. We strive to help students understand all sides of issues and empower them to formulate their own opinions on the best courses of action for our country to take.

What if my plans change? Cancellation Policy

We work hard to keep costs low and to provide a valuable program that is competitive with similar offerings, so we ask for your understanding to respect our Cancellation and Refund Policy.

You are able to switch between sessions as space allows. Please contact us as soon as you know you need to explore this option. We cannot guarantee we can make the switch, but we will try our best!

If you cancel within 30 days of the start date of your Global Scholar session, you won’t receive a refund. If you cancel within 60 days but more than 30 days to the start date of your Global Scholar, you will receive a refund of 50% of the amount you’ve paid, excluding your non-refundable Application Fee.

If we are forced to cancel in-person programming, any student who has been accepted to an in-person program is welcome to switch to a virtual session, or receive a full refund of any fees paid.

Space at our courses is limited, and we have to reserve student housing and vendors well in advance. As a result, our ability to provide refunds is limited strictly to these timetables. We understand that few can afford to pay for a program that they can’t attend, so we strongly encourage you to consider our refund policy when making future plans and to plan carefully.

Did we miss something?

Have any questions that weren’t answered on this Global Scholar FAQ? Please contact us at globalscholar@ampglobalyouth.org or call 202.709.6172.

We look forward to seeing you this summer!