Skip To Main Content


global youth leadership institute

LFA students sailing on a tall ship

The mission of the Global Youth Leadership Institute (GYLI) is to deliver transformative educational programs that foster global pluralism, collaborative leadership, and environmental care that help students and teachers become fully engaged citizens of the world. Founded after the events of 9/11, GYLI strives to build more democratic and socially just communities through access to and experience of multiple perspectives and narratives. 

GYLI logo and meaning graphic

The foundation of the organization is reflected in the four pillars: Collaborative Leadership, Environmental Sustainability, Multicultural Identity, and Religious Pluralism. As reflected in the logo, the circle of community is intentionally unfinished, because there is always more work to be done to build stronger and more inclusive communities. 

To achieve this mission and bring these pillars alive, there is a three-year High School Sequence:

Year 1 (After ninth grade): Five days on the Tall Ship: Sailing in the Wake of Our Ancestors 
Year 2 (After 10th grade): Six days at a retreat center in Northern New Mexico: Developing Your Personal Leadership Vision 
Year 3: (After 11th grade): Eleven days at EARTH University in Costa Rica: Experiencing Models of Global Pluralism and Environmental Sustainability

Student and teachers work year-round on their Leadership Learning Plans (LLPS), which help spread the mission of GYLI through work across many school campuses. This work in turn inspires service as an integral part of the way we live.

Lake Forest Academy students have used their LLPs to make important changes to the community, such as creating a compost area in the cafeteria and working to reduce the amount of single use plastic on campus. During the 2019-2020 school year, Lake Forest Academy started an on-campus GYLI club. This club is open to any student interested in learning more about the four pillars, and living in the mission of GYLI year round.  

Learn more and see photos and videos at