Global Ambassadors Participate in Worldwide Leadership Summit


This past week, Stone Bridge’s Global Ambassadors club participated in the Loudoun International Youth Leadership Summit (LIYLS), a five-day-long summit during which students around the world were able to make connections with each other and improve their leadership and critical thinking skills.

The club originated in high schools as a study abroad program, giving students the opportunity to go abroad and learn about different cultures and countries. To do this, the student leaders and their club advisor at Stone Bridge work hard to create connections with students in other communities.

“We establish international relationships with different schools around the world and we participate in a leadership summit every year,” junior Megan Helge said.

The Global Ambassadors take a very active role within the community. They have partner schools in London, Norway, and South Korea, and arrange google meets with them about once a month.

“Each school takes turns making presentations and being the host school for the meetings,” Helge said.

Outside of these meetings, the Global Ambassadors organize community service projects in relation to humanitarian issues and community fundraising projects. Once a year, they also participate in a leadership summit.

This year is the first year that Stone Bridge has participated in LIYLS, a program that began in 2011. It was the brainchild of many people from across the country, especially Jennifer Rogers, the sponsor and advisor of the Global Ambassadors club at Dominion High School.

“Our Stone Bridge club just got started towards the end of 2019,” history teacher and club advisor Carla Davis said. “We’re very new but we’re definitely taking a lead as being one of the premier schools involved in the program, so I’m very proud of that. We’ve got some great leaders here at Stone Bridge.”

This year, LIYLS ran from Mar. 18 to Mar. 22, and included students from 21 different countries including France, Argentina, South Africa, and many more. Stone Bridge sent four of its own club members to the summit: Ryan Jackson, Angelina Kim, Sachitha Umansenthil, and Miranda Ridgley.

“So, we gathered delegates from all around the world… and we worked on a simulation,” senior Ryan Jackson said. “We had two worlds. Each world had 6 countries and then there were 12 to 14 delegates per country… Those delegates would be given news about the country and they would have to work together with their own country and other countries to solve humanitarian issues.”

There were also multiple guest speakers throughout the program. Speakers included humanitarian figures like Connor Grennan, who founded an organization to help return trafficked children to their families in Nepal, and Carl Wilkens, who stayed in Rwanda to aid humanitarian efforts during the genocide in 1994. Overall, it was a very positive experience for those who participated.

“I thought no one would participate but everyone was friendly and nice, and I improved my leadership skills a lot over the past five days of the summit,” freshman Sachitha Umasenthil said.

… I improved my leadership skills a lot over the past five days of the summit.”

— Sachitha Umasenthil

The Global Ambassadors have high expectations for the club in the coming years. Their goal is to make more connections, and hopefully, their next leadership summit will be in person.

“I’m hoping that we are able to grow, extend our influence, extend our partnerships,” Davis said. “[It] really is my hope that we get back to [the student exchange program], that we have even more virtual exchanges, more partnerships, and just have more opportunities for students to expand their horizons and their thinking about community.”