Second Annual Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit Convenes in Chicago


Summit Brings 25 Teenage Girls Together in Chicago, Encouraging Leadership and Activism

Chicago Sisters Cities International (CSCI) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) hosted 25 teenage girls from Chicago and around the world at the second annual Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit in Chicago last week. Nine of the participating girls were from Chicago and 16 from its international sister cities. The summit encourages young women to become active leaders in their communities and develop solutions to the challenges girls face around the world. Participants are empowered through workshops, discussions and presentations on advocacy, activism and leadership.

“The Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit provides a unique opportunity for teenagers from Chicago and across the globe to share their cultures and build relationships, while also empowering them to be leaders in their communities,” said Chicago Sister Cities International Executive Director Leroy Allala. “By bringing together these girls, we are facilitating a network of future leaders that will help shape a more tolerant and understanding world.”

The 25 participants, who are 14-16 years old and either attend school in the city of Chicago or one of its 28 sister cities, were chosen through a competitive application process. This year’s Chicago participants were from: Albany Park, Brighton Park, Englewood Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, Little Village, the Loop, Ravenswood and South Loop.

Chicago schools represented include:

  •         Spry Community Links High School
  •         Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center
  •         Kenwood Academy High School
  •         DePaul College Prep
  •         Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts
  •         Jones College Prep High School
  •         University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
  •         Walter Payton College Prep

Visiting girls come from the following sister cities:

  •         Belgrade, Serbia
  •         Birmingham, United Kingdom
  •         Bogota, Colombia
  •         Casablanca, Morocco
  •         Galway, Ireland
  •         Gothenburg, Sweden
  •         Hamburg, Germany
  •         Kyiv, Ukraine
  •         Lahore, Pakistan
  •         Mexico City, Mexico
  •         Paris, France
  •         Prague, Czech Republic
  •         Shanghai, China
  •         Toronto, Canada
  •         Vilnius, Lithuania

During the week-long program, participants met with women leaders in Chicago, representing a diverse cross section of industries. They discussed topics including women in tech, service and media, and explored leadership, power, activism, community and advocacy. Throughout the week, the girls networked and built strong relationships with the other participants.

Highlights throughout the week included:

Conversations with Women in Stem at Google Chicago featuring Jessica Droste Yagan, Partner and CEO Impact Engine; Dima Elisa, CEO and Founder of VisMed-3D; and Melissa Albrecht, Global Operations Manager and Program Owner, Digital Manufacturing Technologies, UL

Women in Public Service meeting at Ice Miller featuring Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President and Vuyiswa Tulelo, Consul General of South Africa

Arts and Activism panel at National Museum of Mexican Art featuring Coya Paz, Artistic Director, Free Street Theater, Associate Professor, The Theatre School at DePaul University; and Jenna Blazevich, Founder and Designer, Vichcraf

Women in Communications panel at Univision featuring Teri Arvesu, VP of Content and News, Univision Communications; Shibani Mahtani, Midwest Reporter, Wall Street Journal; Amy Guth, President, Association for Women Journalists Chicago; Wendy Widom, Social Media Editor, CBS 2 Chicago; and Leah Hope, Reporter ABC7 Chicago

Women in Leadership luncheon at Accenture featuring Trish Lukasik, Chief Operations Officer, SpotHero; Beth Marrion, Managing Director, Accenture; Shelley Stern, Director of Civic Engagement, Microsoft; and Shivani Vora, Managing Director, Accenture

Closing ceremony at City Council Chambers featuring Anna Valencia, City Clerk of Chicago

The largest and most active sister cities organization in the country, part of CSCI’s mission is to develop international networks and build citizen-to-citizen connections. The Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit facilitates these connections and serves as the centerpiece of CSCI’s educational programming. The program recently won a national Innovation Award for Youth and Education from Sister Cities International.

The Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit is sponsored by UL, United Airlines, GCM Grosvenor, Microsoft, People’s Gas, Accenture, Aon, Baker McKenzie, City of Chicago, Google, Ice Miller, Shoreline and Univision. For more information on the Global Youth Ambassador Leadership Summit visit: http://chicagosistercities.com/GlobalYouthAmbassadors

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