The Global Engagement Summit believes that by connecting and empowering students we can begin to meet pressing social needs.

We are a student-run social innovation conference that gathers young changemakers from around the world to develop and implement effective social ventures.

By connecting delegates with experts in international development and successful entrepreneurs, we create a launchpad that transforms ideas into realities.


The first Global Engagement Summit took place at Northwestern University in 2005.  The Summit was the realization of two Northwestern undergraduates, Nathaniel Whittemore and Jonathan Marino, who wanted to provide a collaborative space for student changemakers and develop a stronger global connection for Northwestern students.  The first Summit, called the International Youth Volunteerism Conference “provided students with the knowledge and tools necessary to create effective and lasting changes.” This first conference hosted 75 delegates from 20 different countries.

Since then, the International Youth Volunteerism Conference has evolved into the Global Engagement Summit to develop the capacity of world’s young changemakers.  In the 10 Summits held, over 500 delegates from 45 countries around the world have attended.  GES has expanded to a staff of 64 Northwestern undergraduate students.