World Leadership Congress

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About the World Leadership Congress

WLC 2011HOBY's annual international youth leadership event, The World Leadership Congress (WLC), is a dynamic leadership program that brings together students (or "ambassadors" as we like to call them here at HOBY) from the U.S. and abroad. This group of over 400 ambassadors comprised of U.S. high school students and international students from all four corners of the globe convene for a week-long, life-changing, educational and leadership skills building program. Read more on the WLC program at


2013 World Leadership Congress

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Written by Jack Donahue

     It was Saturday morning. A group of subdued yet on-edge high school standouts made their way slowly from the airport to the shuttle and then, finally, to the Loyola campus in Chicago, Illinois.

     The date was July 20th, and the event was the 2013 World Leadership Congress.

     A group of 432 US and international ambassadors were about to embark on a week long journey through self exploration, foundation, and dedication. Little did any of them know that their lives would never be the same.

     The week started off with Opening Ceremonies, a panel of renowned speakers entitled “Cultures of Faith,” and a presentation on religious tolerance by TLC pupil, Suehaila Amen, from the eight episode series “All American Muslim.” With an emphasis on social media and its precedence in today’s world, the seminar progressed to include a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry and a panel on future technology and innovation.

     One of the highlights of the trip came on the second day when Dave Gamache presented Rachel’s Challenge to the ambassadors. This widely used program followed the story of Rachel Scott, the first student killed in the Columbine massacre, in the quest of creating a world where kindness and sensitivity prevails over negativity and bullying. The presentation ended with Dave asking all volunteers and ambassadors to close their eyes and picture a room. In the room, Rachel herself was then said to have entered. Then, ambassadors’ loved ones entered the room. Each ambassador was then asked to tell these people how they are dearly loved and cared for. The night ended with the overwhelming majority of ambassadors in tears and engaging in the embracing of one another.

     Using this presentation as a platform, the seminar promoted the ripple effect in arguing that even the smallest act of kindness- a smile on the street or a simple act of compassion- could create a chain reaction of positivity and love.

     Ambassadors continued through the week with a wide variety of speakers and panels including one given by international ambassadors and non-profit founders.

     Leaders also took part in bettering the world by spending a morning volunteering across Chicago. While most teens stayed on campus to do charity work, many also went off-site to make a difference. While some students went to the Jordan Community School to help students with arts and crafts and others went out to gain signatures for the Sandy Hook

     Promise campaign, a pledge to practice kindness and compassion at all times, all ambassadors made a definite difference and had an effect on others.

     Groups, sorted by color and number, also went out into the city on the “The Amazing HOBY Race,” where, guided by facilitators, students were instructed to locate various Chicago landmarks in the goal of seeing and experiencing America’s great White City.

     Ambassadors also put on an impressive talent show, played a free market game to imitate business and trade, and heard from a variety of speakers including CNN journalist Josh Levs, philanthropist Brian Selander, and HOBY alumni.

     Throughout the whole week, ambassadors practiced with renowned choir director Paul Geer to master “Seasons of Love,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “The Impossible Dream” to be performed at the closing gala for the leadership seminar.

     The closing gala, held at the celebrated Palmer House, included a flag presentation, various speeches, a three course meal, and an address by ambassador-nicknamed “HOBY Daddy,” Russ Tanguay.

     In the end, ambassadors parted ways to travel back home to different corners of both the US and the globe in tears. Some cried out of sadness from leaving new friends and others out of joy that the week had happened. Regardless, all ambassadors were changed by the seminar in one way or another.

     Throughout the week, ambassadors were asked and guided to do two main things. First, they had to identify what they were passionate about. Second, they had to make a plan and goal as to what they wanted to achieve in the real world in regards to their values. Many ambassadors made plans to create nonprofits to better the lives of others or to volunteer in their communities. Others wanted to travel to foreign countries to do service work or do charitable work online. However, many also simply plan to be friendly and smile to strangers to brighten others’ days. Only time will tell if these ambassadors will follow through on their plans.

     Only time will tell if these teens will have a global impact. But for now, it is for sure that these young adults have the potential, connections, and ability to do some OUTSTANDING things in the world. And that is all thanks to preliminary HOBY seminars and the World Leadership Congress.

~Jack Donahue

 2013 World Leadership Congress - MA HOBY Alumni

Emma Haskell, Bradley Rowan, Jack Donahue, Katherine Royce, Daniel Dinjian, Ryan Haggerty, Malachy Donovan, Natasha Joglekar, Annabella Schilling, and Ava Rofougaran.         


2011 World Leadership Congress

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Last Updated on Saturday, 10 September 2011 14:29 Written by Gabriela Campos Friday, 02 September 2011 12:29

The theme for this year’s World Leadership Congress (WLC) was igniting your light and that’s exactly what WLC did for me.  WLC was a life changing experience.  I was so honored to represent Massachusetts at WLC.  This year, WLC took place at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois.  Ambassadors from 46 of the 50 United States attended along with ambassadors from nine other countries: Argentina, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and United Arab Emirates.  There were a total of 402 ambassadors.  WLC was much more then what I expected.   I was able to experience different cultures and create life long bond with people miles away.  My most memorable experience at WLC was my community service project.  My group’s project was world relief.  I was able to go out to the streets of Chicago and hand out flyers to raise awareness of immigration assistance.  I was able to speak in my native language (Spanish) to help other people.  It was an amazing feeling.  We also had several speakers and panels.  One panelist that impressed me was Dr.Tererai , a woman from Africa.  She spoke about how she came from nothing and was doubted, but she rose to follow her impossible dream which was to have an education.  What I took away from this speaker was to never say never, always go for that impossible dream and to value education.  In the words of Dr. Trent” if you believe it you can achieve it”.  WLC helped me grow as a leader and a person. WLC gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams to be a Neonatal nurse.  WLC was a life changing experience that I was honored to be a part of.

HOBY hugs,

Gabriela Campos



2010 World Leadership Congress

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The 2010 World Leadership Congress was held at University of California in Los Angeles from July 23-July 30. It was attended by 400 students from around the world from Taiwan, to Germany to across the United States. One of the attendees from MA, described his experience as follows:

“I got back from WLC just a couple of days ago and wanted to tell you the great experience I had! Like MA HOBY, the days were long and sleep was short. We listened to inspiring panelists that included founders of companies, executive producers, creative thinking advisers, and an actor. While those were great, they were nothing compared to the activities we did. Some of these included Project H20 which was a governmental simulation of water shortage, Model UN, the Amazing Race around L.A., and volunteering at the Beach Clean up. It was a really long week that went by quick if that makes any sense at all. The activities and panelists were motivational and meaningful but what I loved most was the World part of the World Leadership Congress. It was amazing to meet people from not only all around the nation but also from around the world. I made friends from Taiwan to Germany to Alaska, to the UAE. The exchanging of cultures was eye opening, just listening to their daily lives and struggles gave me a new outlook on my life as well as the lives of others. It wasn't just talking to them that made this experience great but it was how understanding and trustful every individual was. Looking back, I grew emotionally and mentally.”

~Brett Fortin

2010 MA HOBY WLC Alumni


2009 World Leadership Congress

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"The HOBY WLC was by far the greatest week of my life. I made great friends from all around the world who I still talk to today. Being in Washington, DC was such a learning experience, it was amazing being only four minutes from the White House. The biggest lesson I learned at the WLC was how to be a leader in a group but how to still work on skills individually. It was so insightful to meet other leaders from places like, South Korea, Washington, Taiwain, Texas, Nebraska, Mexico, and even Long Island, NY and learn about their own experiences. WLC was such an OUTSTANDING experience and I love bringing the concepts I learned there back to Massachusetts HOBY."

~Tori Landry

2009 MA HOBY WLC Alumni


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