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Understand your global impact

“What can I do?” It’s a natural question for students to ask as they become aware of the environmental challenges we face on our planet. To help discover answers, we’ve developed the Global Student Leaders Summit, an innovative series of events that bring together student leaders from across the U.S. and Canada to solve today’s global issues.

In celebration of Earth Day 2013, our inaugural summit is being held in the ultimate learning environment for addressing environmental sustainability—Costa Rica. Together with their teachers, students will spend a week this April traveling on one of five immersive EF tours, exploring Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity and learning firsthand about the environmental initiatives being taken by the country’s leaders.

The tour culminates in San José, where students will gather for our two-day Addressing Environmental Sustainability Conference. Featuring keynote speeches from former Vice President Al Gore, former Costa Rican President Dr. Oscar Arias and noted environmental advocate Severn Cullis-Suzuki, the summit is where students will work together using critical thinking and problem-solving strategies to solve global issues.

For more information, fill out this form or call us today at 800-637-8222.

Addressing Environmental Sustainability Conference

Your tour culminates in San José for our two-day Addressing Environmental Sustainability Conference, an amazing opportunity for your students to apply their new knowledge. By interacting with world-renowned environmental leaders and engaging in authentic international dialogue, your students will be inspired to drive change for the future. Keynote speakers include:

Dr. Oscar Arias: Costa Rica’s Peace with Nature
Former Costa Rican President Dr. Oscar Arias set a goal for the nation to be carbon-neutral by 2021. The Nobel Peace Prize winner offers a lesson on international discourse and unparalleled optimism for humanity.

Al Gore: Our Climate Reality
Former Vice President Al Gore, a Nobel Laureate and bestselling author on environmental sustainability, will connect students with the modern challenges of climate change and motivate them to put their environmental ideas into action.  

Severn Cullis-Suzuki: Inspiration to Action
At age 12, Cullis-Suzuki gained worldwide attention for her powerful speech at the closing session of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Since then, she has been a leading voice in environmental and social justice work. She continues to inspire students to think about long-term sustainability and the fundamental links between culture, science and the environment.

Innovative solutions—by design

Achieving environmental sustainability requires innovative thinking. This summit gives students the educational experiences needed to spark this innovation through problem solving, communication, collaboration and critical thinking—specifically—design thinking.

During expert-led sessions, students will explore three key aspects of environmental sustainability as it relates to work taking place in Costa Rica: Biodiversity, Tropical Ecology and Sustainable Economic Development.

In student-led sessions, students will work to address environmental sustainability with their own authentic solutions. This unique opportunity lets them learn from other students, reflect on their experiences, and share solutions at the end of the conference in the Innovation Village.

Design thinking is an important part of the student-led sessions. It means students will learn to think like designers—transforming the way they approach the world when imagining and creating new solutions. By being aware of the world around them and believing that they play a role in shaping that world, they can take action toward a better future.

Students can begin the summit experience before your tour even departs thanks to our online educational tool, weShare. They can access content designed exclusively for the summit that provides a framework for their own work and research.

By the end of the summit, students will not only understand global environmental changes and the implications of our actions, but they’ll be empowered to take action.

Five immersive tours

We’ve designed five Global Student Leaders Summit itineraries for you to choose from—each culminating in San José at our two-day Addressing Environmental Sustainability Conference for students and their teachers.

Choose your favorite learning environment:

Arenal Region and Central Pacific Coast
Survey conservation efforts in the rainforests of the Central Pacific Coast, where you’ll assist with a mangrove reforestation project and admire the raw beauty of La Fortuna waterfall and Poás Volcano.
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Arenal Region and Sarapiquí
Participate in a volunteer project at a local school or La Selva Biological Station—getting a behind-the-scenes look at authentic tropical research—plus whitewater rafting and a nature walk—before examining life amid the volcanic terrain of the Arenal Region.
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Tortuguero and Arenal Region
Meet creatures of the land and sea—and learn about sea turtle conservation—in Tortuguero National Park before taking to the trees for a canopy walk through the Arenal rainforest.
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Guanacaste and Monteverde
Observe wildlife conservation in the diverse ecosystems of Rincón de Vieja National Park and Santa Elena Cloud Forest, and then experience a Costa Rican classroom first-hand during a school visit.
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San José
Hone in on the summit and its host city, taking time to explore Costa Rican folklore and analyzing environmental initiatives at either La Selva Biological Station or Earth University on top of the main event.
View itinerary »

Whichever path you and your students take to explore environmental sustainability, you’ll get all the benefits of an EF Educational Tour—at the best value. That means round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, comfortable motorcoach transportation, three meals daily and the services of a full-time Tour Director.

Training Tour
Before the summit, we’ll train new Group Leader’s on a complimentary training tour in Costa Rica. By gaining experience on a real tour, teachers will be better prepared to lead students to the summit. We’ll also model some of the experiences that students will have during the conference so that Group Leaders are well-equipped to prepare their students to engage with the conference content.