2021 Youth Leadership Summit

Thank you all for attending our 2021 Youth Leadership Summit in celebration of National Day of Youth! We hope you had a wonderful time engaging with our amazing leaders and speakers!

Please note that the Youth Leadership Summit’s guidelines and eligibility requirements have changed in order to accommodate students’ schedules for the summer. Please read this page carefully.

Sister Cities International (SCI) is pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2021 Youth Leadership Summit (YLS). The Youth Leadership Summit is designed to engage future leaders and expose them to important global challenges. Through the Summit, SCI empowers young people to think globally, spurring a new generation of citizen diplomats and volunteers who become instrumental in promoting peace, mutual respect, and prosperity. This Summit allows high-school aged youth around the world to meet like-minded peers and mentors to develop decision making and leadership skills, including but not limited to positive and visionary change, resourcefulness, and community cohesiveness to bring diverse community elements together.

This year’s YLS theme is “Solving Today’s Problems to Build A Better Tomorrow.” With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, communities around the world are experiencing more problems than before. Left unaddressed, these issues will grow exponentially and harm more communities in the upcoming years. However, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) can provide a roadmap to tackle the majority of global challenges. During the Summit, students will learn more about the UN SDGs and develop community solutions with their peers.

This year’s Summit will take place virtually and have two components:


A workshop focused on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) beginning August 2nd (limited to 50 students selected through the application process)


A 1 Day Public Forum that will take place on August 12th, 2021

Eligibility Requirements

While the 1 Day Public Forum will be open for all to attend, up to 50 students will be selected for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Workshop.

There is no cost to attend the Youth Leadership Summit.

Before you begin the application, please ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements. Once you confirm your eligibility with the categories listed, proceed to the application below.


The Summit is open to students ages 14-18 (at the time of the Summit).
Applicants should be connected to a Sister Cities International member city. Applicants who are unsure if their city is a member city, including international students, are encouraged to apply and Sister Cities International will do their best to connect those applicants with the most appropriate member city.
Applicants must have a good command of the English language (no interpretation services will be provided).
Applicants should have an interest in civic engagement and international relations.

Applicants must be able to participate in all of the weekly sessions, including the orientation, SDG training workshops, and the public forum days. Students must also be able to commit and complete assignments on their own time, if needed, outside of the workshop and the Summit hours.

  • The SDG Workshop will begin on August 2nd
  • The 1 Day Public Forum will take place on August 12

For the first component, up to 50 students from around the world will gather to work in small teams to identify local solutions, utilizing SDGs, to critical global issues. For the second component, students will join a Public Forum that will be open to outside participants. During the Forum, youth delegates will have the opportunity to present their proposals and gain a representative voice as they participate in various speaker discussions and explore the importance of passion, fact-based decision making, and open mindedness.

Students participating in the Youth Leadership Summit will be chosen through a competitive application process.

As part of the Training Workshop, students will choose from five pre-selected SDG tracks designed to solve real-world problems using their own initiatives. The pre-selected SDGs include:


SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being


SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy


SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities


SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production


SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Students will be required to attend six workshop sessions and the August 12 Public Forum during the Youth Leadership Summit. 

The Summit sessions will be held on the following dates: 

Week 1


Day 1 – Monday, August 2nd – start time 11 AM EDT (Washington, DC time)


Day 2 – Tuesday, August 3rd – start time 11 AM EDT (Washington, DC time)


Day 3 – Thursday, August 5th – start time 11 AM EDT (Washington, DC time)


Day 4 – Friday, August 6th – start time 11 AM EDT (Washington, DC time)

Week 2


Day 5 – Monday, August 9th


Day 6 – Thursday, August 12th  (Public Forum)


Day 7 – Friday, August 13th

From Day 1 to Day 5, students will participate in a 2.5 hour workshop starting at 11 AM EDT. Students will use a portion of each day to work in small groups on a group project.  On Day 6, students will attend the Public Forum, for approximately 4 hours, and present findings from their group projects. The Summit will conclude with a closing ceremony and networking session on Day 7. 

Please check back on the website to see updated titles, panels, speakers, and more.

If you are passionate about contributing to global understanding and enhancing your voice as a young leader in your society, fill out the application form below to be part of this unique experience.

Up to 50 students will be chosen through this competitive application process. Applications must be submitted by June 18th, 2021.

Selected candidates will be notified by July 2nd, 2021 and the first weekly session will be on August 2nd, 2021.

Have a question? Please feel free to contact us at [email protected].