If you weren't there, you truly missed out!

If you weren't at the Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC) 2024, hosted by the Foundation for International Education (FIE) at the Royal Geographical Society in London on April 5-6, 2024, you missed on an exceptional opportunity to grow, learn, and connect. The conference theme, "Leadership & Mental Health: Equal Opportunities to Thrive," brought together passionate student leaders, educators, and professionals from across the globe.

What is SGLC?
The Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC) is a pioneering platform that brings together undergraduate and graduate students from across the globe to explore the multifaceted nature of leadership. Since its inception in 2013, SGLC has facilitated discussions on sustainability, diversity, social justice, and human rights through keynote speeches, panel discussions, and interactive sessions. The conference offers an unparalleled opportunity for students to engage deeply with these issues, gaining insights that empower them to effect positive change in their communities and beyond.

About FIE: Bridging Study Abroad with Global Leadership
The Foundation for International Education (FIE) has long been a leader in providing high-quality study abroad programs that enhance academic learning through experiential education. By situating students in new cultural contexts, FIE fosters a global mind-set, encouraging students to develop a nuanced understanding of the world. SGLC ties seamlessly into this mission by offering a platform where study abroad experiences converge with leadership development.

FIE’s commitment to study abroad education is rooted in the belief that immersive international experiences cultivate critical thinking, adaptability, and cross-cultural competence. Through its various programs, FIE has enabled thousands of students to broaden their horizons, gain valuable academic and professional skills, and build networks that span the globe. SGLC amplifies these benefits by focusing specifically on leadership, providing participants with the tools and perspectives needed to lead effectively in an increasingly interconnected world.

Why SGLC Matters?
In a world grappling with complex challenges, effective leadership is paramount. SGLC recognizes this urgency and provides a platform for emerging leaders to hone their skills, exchange ideas, and chart a course towards a more inclusive and sustainable world. By fostering dialogue and collaboration, SGLC empowers students to become catalysts for positive change in their communities and beyond.

Highlights from SGLC 2024

The 2024 Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC) wasn't just a convergence of minds; it was a crucible of ideas, a forge where the future of leadership and mental well-being was shaped. Under the theme "Leadership & Mental Health: Equal Opportunities to Thrive," the conference aimed to dismantle barriers and foster environments where all individuals could flourish, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Keynote Speakers:
Dr. Lynda Folan, Managing Director of Inspired Development Solutions Ltd., kicked off the conference with a rousing keynote. Her insights into resilience in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world set the stage for a weekend of introspection and growth.

Alan Lucas, Founder of The SYSO Foundation, challenged attendees to take ownership of their lives and destinies. His SYSO System, a 7-step framework for personal transformation, resonated deeply with participants, empowering them to navigate life's challenges with grace and purpose.

Session Presenters:
Kim Johnson and Lucy Mercier led a session on Mental Health Basics for Leaders, offering practical strategies for managing stress and supporting others in times of need. Their emphasis on mindfulness and compassion struck a chord with attendees, reminding them of the importance of self-care in leadership roles.

Andrew Pain delved into the phenomenon of Imposter Syndrome, shedding light on its causes and consequences. Through interactive exercises and candid storytelling, he encouraged participants to embrace their authenticity and overcome self-doubt.

Dr. René Hernandez explored the intersection of mental health and historical leadership, highlighting the struggles of iconic figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill. Her session challenged attendees to rethink their perceptions of mental illness and leadership, emphasizing the power of empathy and resilience.

Prof. Ken Hassell led a thought-provoking discussion on identity politics, inviting participants to examine the social constructs that shape their sense of self. His insights into power dynamics and social inequality sparked lively debate, encouraging attendees to advocate for a more inclusive society.

Student Presenters:
Sarah Brakebill-Hacke, a Master's student at Stanford University, shared her mission to eradicate hunger and stabilize regimes worldwide. Her passion for humanitarian goals inspired attendees to rethink their approach to international security and policy reform.

Makaela Isaacs, a student at Loyola Marymount University, showcased her innovative spirit and entrepreneurial drive. Her session on marketing and business highlighted the power of connection and creativity in today's global landscape.

Emily Childress, Catherine Lievi, Ellie Milano, and Victoria Shafer, AIFS Abroad Students from universities across the globe, offered unique perspectives on mental health and cultural diversity. Their stories of resilience and adaptation underscored the importance of peer support in navigating life's challenges.

Mary Dutcher, Valincia Hill, Alessandra McCarthy, Lizbeth Santos-Cruz, and Kylie Toomes, Marist College Students studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland, shared their experiences and insights on leadership and cultural immersion. Their diverse backgrounds and perspectives enriched the conference discussions, highlighting the importance of global collaboration in addressing complex societal issues.

The FIE Ethical Leadership Students presented on a variety of topics related to leadership and mental health. From social media to international politics, their presentations provided valuable insights into the ethical challenges facing today's leaders and the importance of moral integrity in decision-making.

Panel Discussion:
In a thought-provoking session moderated by Dr. Elizabeth Cooper, attendees had the privilege of engaging with a panel of distinguished experts. Prof. Ken Hassell, renowned for his unorthodox yet insightful approach, shared perspectives on identity and its role in mental health. Dr. Baron Kelly brought his expertise on social equality, shedding light on its profound impact on individual well-being. Dr. Bianca Leggett, with her background in creativity studies, offered fresh insights into harnessing imagination for mental wellness. Finally, Dr. Joy Stacey provided valuable perspectives on nature's therapeutic role in promoting mental health.

Together, these panellists painted a comprehensive picture, challenging attendees to broaden their understanding of mental health beyond conventional boundaries. Through lively discourse and shared wisdom, they inspired a collective re-evaluation of well-being paradigms. Attendees left the session enriched, armed with newfound insights and a deeper appreciation for holistic approaches to self-care.

Success of SGLC: Empowering Future Leaders
The success of the Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC) 2024 was evident not only in the engaging sessions and thought-provoking discussions but also in the impactful statistics and testimonials that emerged from the event.

SGLC Participation Statistics:

  • Delegates: A diverse mix of attendees enriched the conference, with 49% participating online and 51% attending in person.
  • Student Presenters: Student engagement was robust, with 70% of presenters being students from various universities worldwide.
  • Student Delegates: The conference was primarily attended by students, with 79% of delegates being students eager to engage in discussions and network with peers.

Testimonials - Student Presenters:

Sarah Brakebill-Hacke: "After attending the conference last year, I had the opportunity to present at SGLC this year. Mental health in leadership is a topic that resonates deeply with me. The SGLC staff supported me throughout the process, and the attendees were open, asking thoughtful questions. My talk was on healing trauma through advocacy, where I told my story as a foster child and homeless young adult who later attended Yale, Cambridge, and Stanford. My story resonated with the audience, and I was able to connect with so many others who had their own experiences with trauma. It was wonderful to be a part of a community of leaders driven to make lasting impacts across the globe. I truly appreciate FIE giving me a platform to share my message."

Julia Cunningham: "My topic at the SGLC focused on the ethical dilemma surrounding the idea of psychologically evaluating world leaders for extreme tendencies towards disorders categorized under what is called 'The Dark Triad.' The Dark Triad, consisting of Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism, has been observed in some of the world's most prominent leaders. Presenting at the SGLC was an impactful experience for me. I highly value experiences in which I can develop my skills as a leader, and the conference provided such a nourishing environment for this. Overall, presenting at the SGLC was invaluable to me as a student, as I was able to grow and practice my own leadership and professional skills all while being abroad."

Brooke Gustafson: "During my semester abroad, I had the pleasure of taking the Ethical Leadership course with FIE. As a part of our program, we researched and presented on various topics regarding ethical leadership and the theme of this year's SGLC conference (mental health). Getting to present in front of such a passionate and involved audience was a joy, and my group members and I thoroughly enjoyed our time over the weekend. I highly recommend SGLC to anyone looking to present or take part in discussion."


  • "The conference in general and the panel in particular was more substantive than in the past. Students and all participants should be challenged in the process of this conference.
  • "Totally bowled over by the 'Healing Trauma Through Advocacy' paper!" -
  • "LOVED the FIE student presentations. Would have loved to see them have maybe 2 to a session instead of 4 so that they could answer some more questions. Loved hearing from them and what they've learned."

Partnership with AIFS
The partnership with the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) has been pivotal in ensuring the success of the Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC) in 2024. Through this collaboration, we've been able to offer scholarships to deserving students, providing them with the opportunity to participate in this transformative event. The generous grant from The Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation has made it possible for us to extend financial assistance to students who otherwise may not have been able to attend. This support aligns with our commitment to inclusivity and ensuring that the SGLC is accessible to individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Furthermore, AIFS's expertise in global cultural exchange has enhanced the conference experience, bringing valuable insights and resources to the table. Their dedication to providing educational opportunities for young people worldwide complements the mission of the SGLC, enriching the event and fostering a vibrant atmosphere of learning and collaboration. Together, with AIFS and the support of The Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation, we're not only hosting a conference but also empowering the next generation of leaders. By offering scholarships and creating an inclusive environment, we're ensuring that the SGLC has a lasting impact on participants, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to drive positive change in their communities and beyond.

Impact of SGLC
SGLC 2024 left an indelible mark on its participants, underscoring the transformative potential of inclusive leadership and diverse perspectives. The conference served as a melting pot of ideas, cultures, and experiences, fostering a vibrant atmosphere of collaboration and learning. Attendees departed with a heightened awareness of global issues, fortified leadership skills, and a renewed sense of purpose to effect positive change in their spheres of influence. The resounding emphasis on inclusivity, sustainability, and innovation resonated deeply, igniting a collective commitment to drive meaningful progress and address pressing societal challenges.

Looking Forward to SGLC 2025

SGLC 2024 Students

With the momentum of SGLC 2024 behind us, anticipation is high for SGLC 2025. Under the theme "Inclusive Leadership: Establishing Cultural Connections and Challenging Stereotypes," the upcoming conference promises to delve even deeper into the dynamics of inclusive leadership in a rapidly evolving world. Against the backdrop of global, the imperative to champion equity, diversity, and inclusion has never been more pressing. SGLC 2025 will serve as a nexus for thought leaders, change-makers, and visionaries to explore innovative strategies, share best practices, and forge new connections. As we embark on this journey together, let us seize the opportunity to shape a more equitable, compassionate, and sustainable future for generations to come. Join us on April 4-5, 2025, in London, UK, as we chart a course towards inclusive leadership and collective impact.

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