Logo Loading

About the Global Student Leadership Summit

The Global Student Leadership Summit (GSLS) is the premier leadership conference for students from diverse backgrounds who have participated in study abroad or other international programs. The 5th annual summit will attract dozens of diverse and underrepresented students from colleges and universities nationwide with a simple goal: to develop the skills essential to being a successful leader in a global society. Students will participate in hands-on student leadership sessions, engage in critical dialogue centered on self-reflection and identity, establish and maintain relationships with like-minded student leaders, and connect with professionals from higher education, the public sphere, and private sector. Participation in the GSLS will help students’ strengthen their leadership and develop global competencies including self-awareness, communication, team building, embracing diversity and difference, and more.


The Global Student Leadership Summit is an opportunity for emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds to participate in professional development workshops to enhance their career readiness by learning how to articulate and leverage their international experience for career and graduate opportunities. Students will share their international experiences with education abroad and diversity professionals in attendance at the conference and discover new career possibilities that would benefit from their global experiences through sponsored panels and information sessions. At the same time, GSLS participants will develop awareness of diversity and inclusion especially as it relates to leadership in a global society and consider solutions to global issues through workshops and case studies. Through networking and community-building activities, students will experience meaningful interactions with student leaders from a variety of different colleges and universities.


  • Empower student leaders to realize the skills necessary to make an impact on their campuses and in their career.
  • Enrich student understanding of international experience through critical reflection and structured engagement on topics such as identity, social justice, inclusion and access, and leadership
  • Encourage students to network with other student leaders and professionals and explore ways to apply their international experience to various career, post-graduate, and academic opportunities
  • Energize students to harness their global experiences to make real change on their campus, in their communities and in the world


We seek GSLS participants who reflect the diverse nature of international experience. Institutions are particularly encouraged to register students representative of one or more of the following underrepresented populations in education abroad: first-generation, racial/ethnic minority, those with disabilities, and high financial need. While not required to submit separate materials to “apply” to the GSLS, we do ask that nominating institutions identify students who:

  • Exhibit exceptional leadership potential
  • Are engaged in the campus community
  • Are able to speak thoughtfully about their experience abroad
  • Will be able to engage in and contribute to the sessions and discussions throughout the GSLS
  • Are likely to utilize what they’ve gained from the summit and share with the campus community upon their return
  • Have a GPA of a 3.0 or higher


Estimated travel costs include flight/car to Boston, MA, single or double occupancy at the conference hotel, and meals not included in conference registration fee. Students are encouraged to coordinate with their study abroad/education abroad office to participate in the GSLS. A limited number of travel stipends will be available. Students who are registered before the early-bird deadline (January 11) will be considered. 



Students and nominating offices are responsible for confirming lodging at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Students interested in sharing a room can indicate this on the registration form and relevant contact details will be added to a list shared with other interested students; however, students are responsible for communicating with potential roommates, reserving the room, and managing payment.


12:00-5:00pmRegistration Open
Welcome & Pre-Conference Kick-Off

Welcome to The Global Student Leadership Summit! This session is an opportunity to get to know the GSLS team and students present at the conference, set expectations, craft individual and community goals and prepare for the upcoming sessions/review logistics. This will be the first gathering directly before the GSLS keynote and opening reception.

The Global Student Leadership Planning Committee

7:30am-12:30pmRegistration Open
Critical Conversations on Personal Identity in Education Abroad

Understanding identity and how it has impacted a students’ global experience is essential to being able to leverage those experiences for leadership and career readiness. Day 1 of GSLS will focus on diving deep into critical conversations. The morning will provide a safe space for critical reflection on outcomes of international experience and the impact students’ diverse identities had on that experience, examine identity in relationship to international experience, and unpack moments of challenge and triumph abroad.

Neal McKinney, Associate Director of Off-Campus Programs - DePauw University
Jacquis Watters, Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs and Social Justice Programs - Columbia University

*Additional Presenters will join to explore expert area topics throughout the workshop

Critical Conversations on Leadership Identity in Education Abroad

In complement to the morning, this afternoon session will introduce the concepts of leadership identity and provide space for participants to establish their own leadership potential. Participants will examine the relationship between international experience and leadership, using diverse identities as a lens.

Chelsea Kindred, Director of Alumni Development and Research

Why Study Abroad: What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Get Started as a High School Student (Closed Event)

This session introduces the benefits of global opportunities available to local high school students in the Boston area. Diversity Abroad believes it is so important for more diverse and underserved students in the U.S. to pursue opportunities such as studying, interning, or volunteering abroad. Students are invited to explore the many reasons why global learning is beneficial for everyone, and the ways they can get started even at the high school level.


Joelle Tolifero: Diversity Abroad

5:00-7:00pmWelcome & Innovation Competition
7:15-8:45pmOpening Reception

Code Switching in the Workforce: Impact, Challenges, and Opportunities

Participants will work with facilitators to examine the impact of diverse identities in the workplace and explore the barriers, challenges, and opportunities in traditional hiring practices. Presenters will introduce concepts of traditional hiring, including how to utilize networking events, like the career fair later in the day, to build a network of champions who will help them leverage their identity, global experience, and leadership.


Maximizing Your Skillset: Elevator Pitches, Interviews, and Leveling Up

During this session the goal is for participants to define their international experience outcomes within a career advancement context. Presenters will provide a space for students to craft an international experience elevator pitch and identify skills they earned or strengthened during their time abroad in order to develop their global brand, as well as practice networking/interviewing/resume writing where international experience is emphasized.

Angela Manginelli, Director of Alumni and Diversity Initiatives, AIFS

Beyond Hard Skills: Career Panel and Networking Preparation Tips

Panelists will share professional trajectories, their first jobs after graduation, and provide direction for students seeking to enter the workforce with newfound skills developed during international experience. Prepared questions from the moderator will cover the topics of networking preparation, identity in the workforce, and what they look for in a job candidate beyond hard skills.

Bri Ard, Interim Director of International Education & Study Abroad, University of South Alabama

To Be Determined

Global Student Leadership - Career Fair

Organizations, institutions, and service-providers will gather in order to provide a space for participants in GSLS to engage in networking, pitch practice, and make connections for future job opportunities. Representatives will be present from a variety of career fields and will be available to interact with students in an exhibit style format. This is an opportunity for all students to gain valuable networking skills and practice interacting with professionals after engaging in career development throughout the day.

9:05-10:05amPlenary Session
11:30am - 12:30pm
Conference Reflections: Major Takeaways and Action Plan

The Global Student Leadership Summit is a space for reflection and growth and part of engaging in a learning experience like GSLS is being able to process and debrief individually and with your peers. This session will provide a space for conference reflections including a written evaluation to center students’ thoughts before a guided discussion. Discussion will center around previous sessions, engagement with the larger Diversity Abroad Conference, how we as a community met our shared goals/expectations, and how we will act to increase Diversity in global education moving forward after engaging in this experience.  


Chelsea Kindred, Director of Alumni Development and Research

Joelle Tolifero, Associate Director, Student Services, Diversity Abroad

Neal McKinney, Associate Director of Off-Campus Programs, DePauw University

12:45-2:15pmLunch & Student Panel
2:45 - 4:00 pm
More than Paying it Forward: Making an Impact on your Campus and Beyond

There is an inherent expectation of students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds who have gone abroad to talk to their friends and family about their experience, whether it’s in a formal position with the study abroad office or in informal conversations with peers. It’s helpful for all students to share their experience abroad, but especially for diverse students since other students on campus “like you” may not know how to start the process of going abroad, how to take advantage of coursework in their major that’s taught abroad, or what the benefits of study abroad might be.

This session will help students think about ways to talk about study abroad and workshop innovative ideas to engage new populations of underrepresented students. Students will have a chance to pitch their designs in front of other participants to gain feedback and collaborate to implement new concepts once they return to their respective campuses and communities.

Joelle Tolifero, Associate Director, Diversity Abroad
Senait Chrisostomo, Program Coordinator, Diversity Abroad


Universities and study abroad program providers are encouraged to register promising students to attend the Global Student Leadership Summit. Nominating organizations are responsible for the registration fees of their nominated students, and are encouraged to confirm the student’s ability to participate prior to completing the online form.

To register a student, please complete the online registration form linked below. By submitting a registration for a student to the GSLS, you are committing to receiving updates from Diversity Abroad Conference organizers. Please provide your own contact information during the registration process.

Please reference the required registration materials — including an essay — prior to submitting the form. NOTE: Student nominations act as conference registrations & will be automatically approved. Please only register students confirmed to attend the Global Student Leadership Summit. Evening receptions, lunch & dinner on Monday, lunch on Tuesday, and coffee breaks are included in the student registration. Registration Fees are as follows:

EARLY BIRD (Oct. 1 – Jan. 11)

  • Student Track Member: $299
  • Student Track Non-Member: $349
REGULAR (Jan. 12 – Feb. 8)

  • Student Track Member: $324
  • Student Track Non-Member: $374
LATE (Feb. 9 - 22)

  • Student Track Member: $374
  • Student Track Non-Member: $399

Global Student Leadership Summit: How to Get Nominated