Global Engagement Summit’s 10th conference begins this week

Emily Chin, Reporter

Students from all over the world will be coming to Northwestern this week for the annual Global Engagement Summit, a student-run conference centered on social entrepreneurship celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The purpose of the summit is to “educate the next generation of social change leaders,” said GES content development co-chair Diego Henriquez-Garcia, a Weinberg junior. “Everyone who comes has some sort of social change idea.”

GES invites both national and international students, or “delegates,” to apply to attend the conference. GES staff, which is made up of more than 70 students, also reached out to professionals in the social change sector to be mentors for the delegates.

Delegates come to the summit with an idea that they are already working on, or an idea in mind, and GES staff and mentors give them the guidance and advice they need to move forward.

At the summit, delegates will attend workshops and short talks, which are similar to Ted Talks. This year’s speakers include David Wachtel, Kevin Coval and Michael Fry.

Wachtel, senior vice president for marketing, communications and partnerships at Endeavor, a global entrepreneurial non-profit, will talk about the role that entrepreneurs play in job creation, particularly in emerging market countries. Coval, author, artistic director and founder of Louder Than A Bomb, the largest youth poetry festival in the world, will speak about bringing attention to marginalized voices. Fry, Emmy-nominated associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, will focus on what the media teaches about culture and representation.

“Our programming is focused on building the tangible skills that help our delegates develop their projects,” said Communication senior Jocie Padgen. Padgen is one of the American Delegates co-chairs, which recruit, select and prepare delegates for the conference.

This year’s summit marks the first time in GES history the majority of the international delegates are from African countries. Delegates’ projects focus on a wide range of topics, focusing on youth education in Tanzania, GPS trackers to limit kidnappings in Malaysia and advocacy work for LGBT immigration and asylum.

This story was updated April 15 at 12:42 a.m. with additional information about the conference’s delegates.

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