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Global Pathfinder Summit Sparks Conversation Amongst Young Leaders

The 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, in partnership with Presidential Precinct, gathered a diverse group of young political, governmental, and civic leaders on May 20-24 for the Global Pathfinder Summit (GPS). 136 emerging leaders from 51 different countries were brought together with 50 Virginians in Charlottesville for global networking.

GPS was presented by the University of Virginia with support from McGuire Woods Consulting, LLC., CGI and the University of Virginia Bicentennial Commemoration.

On May 20-24, GPS participants reflected on the challenges of leadership, civic engagement and governance in today’s democracies and states aspiring to democracy.

“The themes of the Commemoration are democracy, diversity and opportunity and our charge was to create programs of national and international significance,” Kathy Spangler, Executive Director of the 2019 Commemoration, said while opening Global Pathfinder Summit on Monday. “To have all of you here is helping us to do that.”

The international delegates came from all over the globe from the whereabouts of Uganda, Sri Lanka, Albania, Mexico, the Philippines and many more.

Some of the speakers during the week were Matthew Moran, the Chief of Staff to Kirk Cox; Ravi Respeto, President & CEO for United Way – Thomas Jefferson area; Leslie Green Bowman, the President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, who was also appointed by Obama to the committee for the preservation of the white house a few years ago, and before that she served in the same committee under both presidents Clinton and Bush from 1993 to 2010; Samson Itodo, the Executive Director of YIAGA Africa; Pia Mancia, activist and co-founder of Democracy Earth and Open Collective; Wael Ghonim, internet activist and computer engineer; and more.

As you can tell just from that list, the GPS was full of exciting and expansive conversations from amazing people who do extraordinary things.

Topics of discussion were leadership, entrepreneurship, government, giving back and more; and instead of just discussing volunteerism, participants actually spent time volunteering at non-profits in Charlottesville one morning. One of those philanthropic activities included cleaning up the Ix Art Park and painting an inspiring mural.

Throughout the week participants were also engaging extensively through social media and American Evolution’s GPS app. The delegates also chose to stay in touch through a Facebook group for all to create long-lasting friendships. Finnoula Fisk, a Virginia delegate who created the Facebook group, said, “It was incredible to hear from distinguished speakers, but it was even more incredible forming such a vibrant and driven international family.”

UVA’s Miller Center hosted keynote sessions during the week at the Presidential Ideas Festival: Democracy in Dialogue during May 21-23. American Evolution was a partner of the event and included some of the sessions in the GPS schedule. Virginia Delegates attended the Virginia Garden Party on Wednesday evening, which was a reception where they were able to mingle together.

“Our partnership with American Evolution in the Global Pathfinder Summit yielded a life-changing networking opportunity for young leaders from around the world,” said Neal Piper, Executive Director of the Presidential Precinct. “These leaders and their lifelong commitment to moving our world forward through civic engagement made for an inspiring week that will continue to have a positive impact on the future of global democracy.”