What is Global Citizen Year?


Global Citizen Year sees the path to college as an extraordinary – and largely untapped – opportunity to unleash the potential of a new generation of global leaders.  To make this opportunity a reality, we envision a world in which a Global Citizen Year before college becomes an expected and integral step for emerging leaders from all backgrounds – a step that empowers them to shape their own futures and make an impact on their world.

In a world that demands more global competencies than ever before, we will build a strong and growing national corps of new leaders who have the firsthand experience and critical perspectives they need to excel in college and throughout their careers.  Guided by a personal insight into the world around them and fueled by a deep sense of purpose and possibility, these global citizens will be uniquely prepared to navigate their futures and affect vital and lasting change in the face of 21st century challenges.

By spring 2012, we will have 100 Alumni, but we believe that so much more is possible.  In September 2010, we joined the Clinton Global Initiative with the bold commitment that by the year 2016, we will engage 1,000 diverse American high school graduates in a transformative global bridge year before college.  One thousand young Americans today, one thousand global leaders tomorrow – and we know that this is just the beginning.


To catalyze a cultural shift in how young Americans transition to college, we are engaging leading cross-sector organizations to help us ignite the movement nationwide.  To recruit extraordinary Fellows, we are building a broad base of support through college admissions offices, K-12 schools, and communities across the country.  To expand our network of international placements, we are partnering with NGOs, community initiatives, and corporate and government agencies to provide world-class training and apprenticeship opportunities for a growing pool of Fellows.

In the coming years, as we gather evidence of our impact, we will use our model as a “proof point” to advocate for the policies and resources at the national level which help ensure that many more – and more diverse – young Americans have the opportunity to gain the firsthand experience and critical perspectives they need to excel in college and make an impact in our world.


Our mission is to unleash the potential of the next generation of Americans to approach the rigors of higher education and the challenges of the 21st century with innovative, insightful, and effective leadership.

To do this we:

  • Recruit a diverse corps of high-potential graduating seniors who defer college for one year to become Global Citizen Year Fellows;
  • Train our Fellows through an intensive, world-class curriculum in the U.S. and abroad;
  • Support them through immersive homestays and apprenticeships in communities across the developing world;
  • Connect Fellows with K-12 classrooms and their communities back home through blogs, videos from the field, and presentations upon return;
  • Forge a dynamic network of alumni who share a global perspective and a commitment to use their education to make a positive impact in whatever field they pursue.



  • We hold all people’s dignity and well-being at the heart of our words and actions.
  • We aspire to build a high-performance culture based on trust, respect for difference, and individual responsibility.
  • We strive to be a humane organization, creating opportunities for our staff, fellows and international hosts to live whole, engaged, and fulfilling lives.


  • We believe that all people have the capacity to learn, grow and thrive – and that our work can help unleash this potential.
  • We are optimistic that through innovation and collaboration across sectors we can create a more peaceful, sustainable and prosperous world.
  • We actively pursue opportunities to expand our reach and accelerate progress toward our mission.


  • We go above and beyond to improve the quality our Fellows’ learning, to increase the value we bring to communities abroad and at home, and to expand the number of beneficiaries we serve.
  • We are committed to rigorous evaluation and course-corrections that strengthen the positive benefits of our work.
  • We prioritize getting things done efficiently and making a tangible difference.

Read more about GCY at http://globalcitizenyear.org

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