Northwestern hosts Global Engagement Summit with workshops, speakers focused on social change

Olivia Exstrum, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Northwestern hosted the ninth annual Global Engagement Summit this weekend, featuring a variety of small workshops, short talks and keynote speakers focused on the topic of social change.

During the event, which ran from Wednesday to Sunday, NU hosted 40 delegates from different universities across the country and world.

“There are a lot of things we want delegates to take away from the summit,” said SESP senior Nick Kazvini-Gore, a co-director of GES. “There are very tangible skills on how to improve their projects, but there is also more awareness and insight on what’s good social change.”

Students selected to be GES delegates arrived at the summit with an idea or a project and attended events pertaining to the goal toward which they were working. Through the GES curriculum, delegates learned skills including how to elevator-pitch, create funding strategies and brand their projects, said Weinberg senior Danya Sherbini, the other co-director for GES.

There were five NU delegates, including one from both Northwestern Community Development Corps and Points for a Purpose.

The three short talks, Sherbini said, covered general topics and the workshops were “more in-depth, practical and specific.”

“GES covers so many different topics, which is really useful because all the people who come in are in all different sectors, such as education, human rights and environmental awareness,” she said.

All conference events except for the workshops were free and open to the public. Kazvini-Gore and Sherbini said one of the goals of this year’s summit was not only to engage the participating delegates from NU and around the world, but the larger NU community as well.

About 80 people attended the closing keynote Saturday, which featured a presentation by Dan MacCombie, the co-founder and co-CEO of Runa, a beverage company that sells guayusa, an Amazonian tea produced in Ecuador. MacCombie, in collaboration with co-founder and co-CEO Tyler Gage, began the company’s development shortly after graduating from Brown University. MacCombie spoke on the challenges of starting a business and the importance of being focused.

“You don’t have to hit people over the head with your story,” he said. “You just need to get their attention.”

In addition to delegates visiting for the conference, about 75 NU students helped to organize this year’s summit. SESP freshman Shoshi Shapiro, a member of the campus relations team, said she became involved in GES after participating in a One Book One Northwestern program at the beginning of the year. Shapiro said initially she was unsure if she would participate in GES again next year, but after the summit said she “can’t imagine not being there.”

“I think of it as an amazing and diverse group of people,” she said. “I think of it as a family.”

Kazvini-Gore said GES participants are “really proud” to call themselves part of the “GES family.”

“The GES family is really global,” he said. “You could email any one of the alums and they would be willing to help you with anything. It makes for a great extended network.”

Twitter: @oliviaexstrum