June 25-July 12, 2016 or July 22-August 8, 2016

Changing the world sometimes changes you

At the Global Leadership Forum, we believe in the power of youth. We offer you challenge, education, and an opportunity to engage in community. Through a carefully organized experience, you’ll find yourself emancipated from the idea that you can’t do anything about the problems in your community.

The GLF has three phases, each distinct from the others. During the Castle Phase, we’ll spend time on UWC-USA campus learning about each other and gaining the skills necessary for the coming challenges. We’ll be hiking, playing games, and attending workshops on innovative concepts like design thinking. Next is our Culture phase, where we’ll be going into local towns like Santa Fe to experience all that the city has to offer. We’ll also be volunteering with local non-profits and learning about what it takes to make change in the real world. Finally, we’ll spend some time in the wilderness during our Challenge Phase. We’ll be in Colorado working with real wolves, getting hands-on-experience with these amazing creatures.

glf-lggroupProgram components

1. Leadership Development

You’ll find yourself equipped with not only tools but opportunities to be a leader every day of the trip

2. Project Development

We’ll work with you to create a project that you’re passionate about, that you can implement in your home community to begin making change when you return from the GLF

3. Service Learning

Spend a minimum of 18 hours during the trip volunteering with various non-profit groups

4. Global Community Building

Your peers will be from everywhere! Learn about the world through the eyes of your new friends

5. Cultural Experience

Experience the cultures of the Southwestern United States. Listen to live music on a warm summer evening, and learn about the strong native American heritage present in New Mexico

6. Wilderness Challenge

Learn how to hike, set up a campsite, cook in the woods, and thrive in the wilderness


Cost: $2995 see group discount

Dates: June 25-July 12, 2016 or July 22-August 8, 2016

Application Deadline: July 15, 2016

Location: New Mexico

Ages: 14-18


“Global Leadership Forum had a profound impact on the way I see and go about influencing the world, and I will forever consider it one of the best experiences of my young life.”

– Ben Brimacombe, GLF Participant


There are two things to know about GLF:  you will be busy, and you will have fun. Here’s what to expect:

Day 1: Travel Day
  • Arrive at Albuquerque Airport, transfer to UWC-USA campus
  • Settle in for the evening. Rest
Day 2: Castle Phase
  • Tour of campus
  • Introductions
  • Get to know each other
  • Opening Ceremony
Day 3: Castle Phase
  • Morning hike to amazing lookout
  • Project workshops
  • Get to know each other (really well)
Day 4: Castle Phase
  • How we begin to decolonize the U.S.
  • Project workshops continued
  • Games and free time
Day 5: Bandelier National Monument
  • Visit the home of generations of cliff dwelling Native Americans
Day 6: Castle Phase
  • Project workshops continued
  • Free time
Day 7: Day hike in Pecos Wilderness
  • We’ll spend the day gaining altitude summiting Hermit’s Peak
Day 8: Culture Phase
  • Meet the Youth Media Project, begin developing personal stories
  • Discover the UWC-USA farm
Day 9: Culture Phase
  • Continue to prepare your personal story
  • Visit Tesuque Pueblo farm and learn about Native American agriculture
Day 10: Culture Phase
  • Learn to use a recording studio while recording your personal story
  • Spend the afternoon in downtown Santa Fe, soaking up the live music, delicious food, and Southwestern culture
Day 11: Adventure Phase
  • Learn the basic skills for wilderness living, and prepare your gear for an adventure
Day 12: Adventure Phase
  • Hop in the bus and settle in for a trip to the wilderness of Colorado
  • Set up camp, and visit the wolves of Mission:Wolf for the first time
Day 13: Adventure Phase
  • Wake up early to help feed the wolves
  • Tour the Mission:Wolf facility and learn about what they do
Day 14: Adventure Phase
  • Explore the wild and see striking views on a summit hike
  • Volunteer your time with Mission:Wolf by collecting wood, feeding wolves, and helping maintain trails around the facility
  • Relax at the end of the day sitting by the campfire with friends
Day 15: Adventure Phase
  • Time to return to UWC-USA campus
  • Shower for the first time in four days
Day 16: Castle Redux Phase
  • Final project workshops
  • Listen to your stories during the Youth Media Project Listening Event
Day 17: Castle Redux Phase
  • Prepare yourself, your stuff, and your room for your return home
  • Receive your certificate of completion in our closing ceremony
  • Perform in the GLF Cultural Show!
Day 18: Travel Day
  • It’s time to go home!






Get the facts!

Wondering about the weather? Curious about the food? Check here for answers! If you still have questions, contact us.

What is the weather like in New Mexico?
Warm and sunny in the summertime, and sometimes hot! It’s also dry, given that we are a desert climate, and you’ll be well over 6,000 feet (2000 meters!) in altitude all of the time. You’ll need to watch out for sunburn and wear a hat and sunglasses. It is extremely important to drink lots of water when you’re up this high. We sometimes have summer “monsoons” when it rains almost every day, then clears off and is cooler.
Do I take any tests?
The Global Leadership Forum is a non-academic program, so you won’t be taking any formal tests. That being said, you will be tested every day of the program through challenges big and small, physical and emotional. We believe that if you have the skills to overcome challenges, and opportunities to experience adversity, you will experience true personal growth.
Is it safe in New Mexico and the area around UWC-USA?
Although this might not be something that you think about, it is certainly something your parents will be worried about. In general, Las Vegas (where UWC-USA is located) is a safe place. Of course, you always have to be aware of your surroundings, but that’s the way it is no matter where you go. The school itself is very safe, and we have our own security personnel. Although it is certainly a consideration, safety at UWC-USA is not something to be worried about. When the program moves to Santa Fe and into the “Adventure Phase,” you’ll take some risks, but GLF staff will always be on hand to help you manage those risks.
Do I need to speak English fluently?
No, but is important to us that you speak, read, and write well enough to really learn a lot from this opportunity. Also, we want you to be able to contribute in important ways!
What are the instructors and staff like?
This is a fascinating question. Fascinating, because depending upon where you’re from you will have a very different preconception of a teacher-student relationship. At UWC-USA, this relationship is very informal. Students and faculty address each other by first names. Relationships are very casual (but still professional), and students and teachers conduct themselves more like friends outside the classroom than in most educational systems. Of course, our instructors deserve a higher level of respect than your peers. The thing about the program teachers is that they really like working with youth, they care about you, and they are fun – all while expecting high quality effort from you.
What kind of technology is available at UWC-USA and what should I bring?

There are small computer labs in each of the dorms, with four to six computers in each lab and internet access from each of these computers. Feel free to bring your laptop, tablet, smart phone, or nothing at all! Participants use their technology for note taking, journaling, free time, and communication with their families.

There are parts of the program when we won’t be using any technology, and you may be asked to refrain from making cell phone calls and texting in some settings. Also, in some of our locations, there is simply no access to a signal.

Where will I be living?
You will be assigned to one of six residences during your time at UWC-USA. You will share a dorm room with one or two other participants from all over the world. Staff will be living in the same halls as you, only a few doors down; if you need anything at any time of day or night, they’re there to help. During the “Adventure Phase”, we will be camping out. You will learn how simple that is, and we provide all the equipment and training you’ll need.
What’s the food like?
We offer a large variety of dishes in our school cafeteria, and there is always a vegetarian option. We are also able to accommodate specific dietary needs. We always have a salad bar with extensive ingredients and fixings, and most meals have a meat option too. The cafeteria is open at regular hours. After we leave UWC-USA, we’ll become more adventurous, and even start making our own meals over camp stoves!
Where do I go if I have problems?
You have many options. Program coordinators are always available and we will periodically check in with every participant to see how things are going. If you have any problems or concerns with anything, they are great people to talk to. We also have assistant instructors closer to your age. They are great people to talk to about anything. Our program has an extremely friendly, supportive, and socially-connected group with a very high instructor-to-participant ratio. We are here for you.
What rules does GLF enforce?
The faculty is not here to be police, but they do enforce the rules. Your fate lies in your own hands, and what happens to you here generally depends on your own actions. There are a few rules that we feel are important to emphasize. The first is the zero-tolerance policy, which means no drugs! The school is very serious when it comes to this. If you are caught having any experience with illegal drugs, you will be forced to leave. There is no room for negotiating this rule. It is as simple as that. Alcohol is illegal in the U.S. for persons under 21 years of age, and the school enforces the ‘no alcohol’ rule. There is also a no-smoking policy.
What is community service?
Community service is a central component of our program. While some of you might have been exposed to community service in the past, for others this might be your first time ever hearing of it. Community service is exactly what it sounds like. The opportunities for community service include working with the elderly, the environment, people with mental or physical disabilities, or children. Within each category exists several different opportunities, and we will meet local teens while we perform community service in Las Vegas and Santa Fe.
Will I be able to talk to my family?
We have wifi over the entire campus, as well as cell phone reception. We welcome you to bring a phone, laptop, or other device to communicate with your parents by cell phone or any application like Skype or Google Hangout. If you don’t have a smart device, we have some you can borrow to communicate with your family.
How much spending money should I bring?
There is no need to bring spending money! Our days are packed with activities and we always have food and snacks from the moment you land to the moment you depart. That being said, there are opportunities to buy art and gifts. If you would like to bring money for those items, I would bring between $25-200.
Where do participants come from?
Participants come from all over the world! We work really hard to get young people from every corner of the globe, so your experience is rich with culture, diversity, and new perspectives. Last summer, we had youth from 28 different countries!
I need to complete community service hours for school, do you do that?
During the program, you’ll complete at least 12 hours of community service. We’re happy to complete forms or documents to help you verify with your school that you’ve completed the hours.
My parents want to do something like this, do you have adult programs?
We are in the process of creating a variety of adult and family-oriented programs. Please visit the Adult Programs section of our site for more details!
What is one last piece of advice you have?
Be open to new ideas and experiences, because you will have many. Our program is too unique, too different, and too extreme to fit into any context to which you have previously been exposed. Therefore, trying to judge what it has to offer you is next to impossible and certainly will keep you from having some truly remarkable experiences. The best advice anyone can give you is to leave yourself open to whatever may come your way, and let those experiences shape you. We can promise you this: the very hardest part of the program is saying goodbye to your friends and to the community you create together. You are about to experience something very special.


“It is so influential and powerful for me to have had those several days there, and of course the experience is so incredible and amazing. It was my first time to be in such a diverse setting! I was curious, nervous but happy to find out the differences among others. And through a lot of meaningful collective activities, I believe in the quotes of UWC-USA that “there is more in you than you think”. When I returned to China, I pay more attention to, and care more about the environment…I do not want to buy plastic water bottle, so usually I would have my beverage filled in tins or use a water bottle again and again!”

– Ziqi Wei, China, 2014 GLF Participant