Global experiences

Teamwork in action: 2017 Global Leadership Summit

At EF Global Leadership Summits, students work in international teams to create and present solutions to global challenges using the design thinking process. The winning prototypes earn a place in the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm, Sweden alongside generations of Nobel Laureates.

We reached out to the winning team from our 2017 Global Leadership Summit in Milan, Italy where students explored The Future of Food. Team members Mary B., Claire P., Grayson I., Jaqui S., and Mathias S. described their group’s journey—from collaborating, to ideating, to pitching—and shared the lasting impact of their Summit experiences.

The team

“Before the Summit, it was hard to imagine working together with a group of total strangers, but every person on our team cared, and it showed. Suddenly it didn’t matter what country we were from, or what religion we practiced, or the language we spoke. We all wanted to succeed and have a great time doing it.”
-Mary B.

“My group was amazing. From the moment we started talking, I knew that we would be best friends. We were having so much fun and our energy just clicked. When it came to the prototype, we shared our individual ideas and then narrowed it down to our final project idea. We all worked very hard and put our heart and soul into the project.”
-Claire P.

The process

“After team-building exercises, our team gathered around a table together to talk about the predictions of food in the future, think critically about access to fresh food, and learn about the design thinking process. With construction paper, pipe cleaners, and aluminum foil, we made our first prototype.”
-Grayson I.

“We created the Hydrone: a self-sufficient and easy-to-use machine that sprays water from above. It is powered by solar panels and made of recycled plastic.”
-Jaqui S.

The pitch

“First, we presented our project to 16 other groups, where only one group would proceed to the next round. After proceeding to the final round, we had to present our project for over 2000 people and 3 world-renowned judges, including Anthony Bourdain, which was one of the craziest things I have ever done.”
-Mathias S.

“I can remember waiting for our turn to pitch our idea—we were all holding hands whispering just how proud we were of one another and our little invention. Our teamwork had paid off and we soaked in the moment we worked so hard for. We marched on that stage, heads held high, and we showed everyone how much we cared about what we created.”
-Mary B.

The winning moment

“The bliss that came when we won is indescribable, and the memory of the joy it sparked is still distinct in my mind. The moment was re-lived when a friend of mine sent me a picture of the prototype in the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm, right next to the works of Albert Einstein. The fact that EF decided to place it there shows their method of motivating students to keep striving to achieve their best.”
-Jaqui S.

“Knowing that our project was going to be in the Nobel Prize Museum in Sweden made the whole experience so surreal and crazy. And there I was. In Milano with all my expectations more than fulfilled. In just three days I met new friends that I still talk to today, I got challenged in a way I could never imagine, and I for sure had an experience that I will never forget.”
-Mathias S.

The impact

“I learned that I could do anything that I put my mind to. I also learned that if I pursue my dreams anything can happen. Two years ago, my project was a simple prototype that a group of ten different high school students thought up at a table in a conference room. Two years in the future, my project could be a real invention that changes the face of the earth forever.”
-Claire P.

“This was one of the best teams that I have worked with. After getting past the initial awkwardness of working with strangers, we were all excited to work together and involve everyone in the process. To think that our creation is next to Noble Prize winners is absolutely unbelievable!”
-Grayson I.

“Our invention was more than scotch tape and pipe cleaners. To us, it represented creativity, collaboration, and achievement. It showed all of us just how much we were capable of. That’s what the Global Leadership Summit is all about—being thrown completely out of your comfort zone, and pushing through discomfort to create something great.”
-Mary B.

See their journey unfold:

Learn more about the impact of EF Global Leadership Summits.

Madeline Muller

Madeline is a copywriter at EF tours. She loves sitcoms, tacos, re-reading books, and befriending dogs. Her favorite city is Budapest.

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