Introducing the Global Development Leadership Series

by Klevisa Kovaci

For over a decade, The Youth Assembly has been providing an essential platform to engage and mobilize youth as key stakeholders and partners for global development. With nearly 1,000 young leaders attending twice a year, The Youth Assembly brings together one of the world’s largest gathering of youth aspiring to change and make a difference in the world.

A culmination of The Youth Assembly Delegates’ need for deeper learning, connecting, and hands-on experience led to the launch of the first ever Global Development Leadership (GDL) Series. The GDL Series brings young leaders to the heart of two U.S. cities with critical significance in global affairs: Washington D.C. and New York. Inspired by Delegates’ call for engagement opportunities beyond The Youth Assembly, the GDL Series combines the flagship conference with a comprehensive enrichment program package that consists of field visits, working group sessions, special events, and accommodations.

Four distinct GDL Series tracks capture the themes vital to achieving sustainable development: Economic Development, Human Development, Environment, and Peace. These ring in close alignment with the three dimensions of Sustainable Development (Social, Economic, and Environment) as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The tracks cater to the diverse interests and work of The Youth Assembly delegates.


Ensuring that the Delegates get the most out of their visit to D.C. and New York, the GDL Series capitalize on a diverse array of organizations that promote positive change in the world—ranging from environmental nonprofits, international financial institutions, to conflict resolution mediation organizations. The GDL Series brings young leaders directly to the heart of these institutions and the experts leading them, providing rare and valuable glimpses into their daily work at the headquarters and their coordination with hundreds of field locations.

Meanwhile, in working group sessions, the Delegates collaborate in groups to analyze, plan and formulate first-step solutions, as well as personal actions to improve the global and local arenas in international affairs – all in preparation for collaborating on solutions to major world challenges today.

Indeed, of great significance is the teamwork, bond, and friendship that the Delegates form throughout their GDL Series journey. Exploring D.C. and New York together, our Delegates from across the globe connect with those who share similar interests and aspirations for a better world.

In particular, the GDL Series Special Events gather the Delegates for celebratory networking and socializing opportunities to further connect and strengthen their newfound friendships. At the heart of these social events are music and the arts – the mediums that have historically been transcending all borders and uniting people without bounds.

The Youth Assembly Culture Fest celebration does just that: the Delegates showcase their multicultural colors through song, dance, and traditional wear from their cultures in a celebration of diversity, friendship, as well as unity for positive force in the world.

The knowledge, hands-on experience, and friendship networks formed through the GDL Series create a new cohort of strong youth leaders who – through their friendships, knowledge, skills, and goodwill – form ripples of change that can culminate into powerful, positive impact.