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Global Leadership Summit 2017 – Q&A with Maya Nylund

Global Leadership Summit 2017 – Q&A with Maya Nylund

This year’s Global Leadership Summit was held in Milan, Italy and with the topic on “The Future of Food.”

During the summit, students had to examine what food means to cultures around the world as they explored cities across Europe. Together with other students, they gained a deeper understanding of food’s ability to link us to our past and present, and learn about our role in the future of food. Hear what one of our EF Academy student participants, Maya Nylund, had to say about this experience:

First name: Maya

Last name: Nylund

Home country: USA

Program: IGCSE

Favorite club/activity: Drama Club

Favorite subject: English

Special accomplishment: Being published in the Huffington Post


Tell me about the Global Leadership Summit…

The Global Leadership Summit is a thematic workshop in which accomplished individuals host speeches and hold workshops with the students in attendance. Students are also taught “design thinking”, a mode of invention which while implemented in the Summit’s structure leads to quick prototyping of products and ideas relevant to the Summit’s theme. This summer’s summit was held in Milan, and concerned “The Future of Food.”

Why were you interested in taking part in the GLS?

I was interested in taking part in the GLS to be able to learn from the wisdom of some truly successful people.

What experiences did you gain at the GLS in Italy?

I was lucky enough to meet some very interesting, inspired high school students from around the world, and to gain some very eye-opening insight from keynote speakers Raj Patel, Anthony Bourdain and Stephen Ritz, as well as Val Weisler, who held one of the leadership workshops.

What was your favorite part of the summit? 

I really enjoyed hearing from Raj Patel, as his speech made me realize the endless intersectionality of food- he managed to connect it to everything from women’s rights to the racial politics of convenience stores in Britain.

What was the most inspiring part of the summit?

The most inspiring part of the summit was hearing from Val, who founded her anti-bullying initiative, the Validation Project, when she was just 14. She is currently 19, and her project has touched the lives of kids as far from her home as Peru. It was refreshing to hear from someone so young and so empowered.

Who was your favorite speaker? Why?

As I noted before, I really loved haring from Raj Patel!

What workshop(s) did you attend and what was the most interesting thing/skill you learned?

I attended Val’s workshop, Raj Patel’s workshop, Anthony Bourdain’s workshop and Stephen Ritz’s workshop. The most practical skill I learned was how to use technology to grow food anywhere, as Stephen Ritz demonstrated with his use of a vertical garden.

What did it mean to you to be part of the conference?

Being a part of the conference meant a chance to learn more about a topic that effects my life daily, but to which I rarely afford much thought.

What problem did you and your group solve, and how did you come up with the solution?

My group solved the problem of a Floridian high-schooler who witnessed kids from food impoverished family refusing much-needed food at lunch due to it’s poor quality. Our solution was a community garden which fed into a student-led restaurant, an idea which drew great inspiration from Stephen Ritz.

Tell me about your impressions of Italy…

I have been to Italy before, on a trip to Rome, and I was struck by how different the ambiance of Milan was to it. It reminded me significantly more of Northern European cultures, which makes sense due to it’s relative closeness.

What did you bring home with you? (friendships, new knowledge, leadership skills, etc.)

I brought home friendships with kids from Philadelphia, Spain, Norway and Texas, a sense of responsibility regarding food-related issues and a nasty case of jet lag.

How will you use what you learned at the summit to make changes in your community at EF Academy or in your home country?

I now intended to start growing a small bean garden at home, and will examine the practices of my school regarding food sourcing and waste in the coming academic year.

What advice do you have for the students who will be attending the summit in the future?

Make those scary introductions, listen far more than you speak, and have fun! The summit is an extraordinary experience for all those who allow it to be one.

Why do you think this summit is important for students your age?

I think this summit is important for students my age because it provides the sort of vastly applicable, skill-based teaching that schools fail to give in the face of testing, grading and standardization. The summit makes accessible the tools and stories to help students my age on their way to personal growth and achievement.

Did the summit have any influence on your goals or plans for university/career?

Not necessarily my plans for college or with jobs, but I hope to actively become more involved in the way in which I institutions I associate myself with handle food.