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The aim of GSL is to establish a network of socially conscious global leaders who are equipped to be leaders in their lives and society.

Global Social Leaders (GSL) Programme

London, United Kingdom
The GSL programme was launched in 2013 by Future Foundations, in partnership with the Wellington Leadership and Coaching Institute. We empower young people to co-design innovative social action projects benefiting their families, communities and charitable organisations further afield. We have since inspired and supported 5000 young people to deliver over 1000 projects in 100 countries.

What is Global Social Leaders (GSL) Programme?

Patrice, Student at French International School, Hong Kong
“GSL is an amazing program to join, as it enforces all the principals to become a great leader in life and society. GSL also teaches you how to make something positive out of your own mistakes. ”

Patrice, Student at French International School, Hong Kong

What we do?
Future Foundations is an independent award-winning organisation which believes in the power of young people to create a more sustainable and brighter future. We design and deliver pioneering training programmes and experiences for young people between the ages of 7 and 24 globally. Our mission is to inspire young people to achieve their full potential. Our vision is a society where all organisations are led by socially conscious people, with every young person  making a transition into adulthood with the foundations they need for their future.

Why we do it?
We are facing unprecedented times and threats to our social, physical and mental health and wellbeing indeed to our very existence. We need solutions to problems that we have never faced before. As an organisation we want young people to know who they are so they can thrive and serve others to create a more sustainable world for all. We are passionate about the power people have to effect great change in their own lives and wider society. We work with young people because the sooner we can connect with our power and purpose the faster the world can heal. 

How we do it?
We work with young people, schools, teachers, educators, parents, guardians and leaders through our global competition and programmes.  There is a lack of knowledge to support for young people in how to run student led projects outside of the classroom. Evaluation of Youth Social Action (in the UK), found robust evidence that young people who take part in social action initiatives, such as volunteering, develop some of the most critical skills for employment and adulthood. We work to develop the knowledge and skills so that young people can make meaningful change. 

The GSL programme is shaped to focus on building knowledge, skills attitudes and values through independent learning and team sessions. We believe in building the right attitude and values in young people as the foundation for GSL programmes.  The OECD highlight the need to acquire three transformative competencies to help shape the future we want: creating new value, reconciling tensions and dilemmas, and taking responsibility. We use this a basis for our programme design. 

Reflection is a key component to the GSL programme, as part of the learning process; encouraging young people to reflect on their experience throughout the programme, their own individual learning and building their insight. “We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” [Dewey (1933:78)]  

When young people “create new value, they ask questions, collaborate with others and try to think “outside the box” in order to find innovative solutions. This blends a sense of purpose with critical thinking and creativity”  

We instill a sense of agency by providing students (and their teachers) with a dynamic work related learning programme. We challenge our students to examine issues at a local, national and global scale. Our programmes empower young people to take responsibility, lead change and develop a sense of self-determination. They are the change they wish to see. 

We address the challenges by delivering leadership courses and a global service-learning project competition, which challenges young people to work in teams to solve local, national and global issues (inspired by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals). 

We celebrate and reward young peoples' journeys as well as their destinations. This resulted in our launching in the face of Covid-19 a two day virtual global youth conference, The GSL Festival @ Home. It was powered by the young global changemakers who continued to take action even during global lockdown. 

We challenge young people to Think Globally, Act Socially and Start Now! 

How to support implementation - scalability & impact 
We invite schools to register with us, to take part in our free to enter global project competition, this is the entry point to joining our programme and being part of the growing GSL movement.  We launched this three years ago, and have grown the competition from 50 to 600 schools taking part per year, in over 100 countries.  Once part of this initiative, school teachers and young people, can find out more about GSL, our programmes and free to join Fellowship which supports young changemarkers to be leaders in their lives and society. 

What one of our young people think about what we do
"GSL isn’t an ordinary program. It doesn’t talk about problems. It talks about solutions. I makes us realise about the comfort zone that we usually dwell in but also provides practical solutions to overcome it. Because that’s where the real work is done. That is where change occurs. That is where leaders lead. GSL teaches you not only how to lead, but also how NOT to lead. It dispels the myth that leaders and dominators. It shows us that leaders are the most compassionate humans of all. GSL teaches you, at the end of it all, how to live a life that can make a difference." - Anhad  Billabong High International School, India

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Innovation Overview
Target Group
5 135
Tips for implementation
We invite schools to register to take part in our free to enter global project competition, which supports young people to work in teams to deliver a project working towards achieving the global sustainable development goals. Find out more:
Contact information

See this innovation in action

A special endorsement by his excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Global Goals – How schools can transform the world - Council of British International Schools
The Global Social Leaders Festival @ Home
COBIS Global Social Leaders Competition
GSL Festival @Home - Live-Stream Video Content
‎GSL Podcast
GSL Blogs
GSL Instagram - #gslgoals


Achievements & Awards


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Global Goals Competition
The aim of the competition is to develop students’ understanding of global citizenship and how to turn their ideas into reality. We support young people to develop and implement a project that helps to achieve the United Nations’ Global Goals and join a global movement of socially conscious leaders.
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GSL Catalyst
Our GSL Catalyst programme is designed to develop leadership skills, understanding of global issues enabling young people to plan a project and become leaders in their life and society.
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GSL World Summit
GSL World Summit is our transformational annual leadership experience developed by Future Foundations and the Wellington Leadership Institute that brings together young people aged 11-14 and 15-17 from across the world who are driven to make social change on a global scale at Wellington College.
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The Global Leaders in Education Programme
A bespoke leadership programme for teachers. It runs alongside the GSL World Summit which is held every year in August. The programme is a perfect opportunity for professional and personal development and a chance to meet teachers from around the World.
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