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Millennial-Run Model G20 Program Works to Dispel Stereotypes for Multiple Generations

10-25-2017 09:21 AM CET | Science & Education

Press release from: Knovva Academy

Students celebrate during the 2017 Model G20 Youth Leadership Summit

Students celebrate during the 2017 Model G20 Youth Leadership Summit

Sometime between the urge to up with the Kardashians and a zombie mania infection that swept the country, a new generation started to take on a life of their own. They dumped Facebook for Instagram, replaced phone calls with texts and unapologetically killed Myspace. It wasn't until they started to join the workforce, however, that people started to really take notice of the impact #Millennials were having on the world around them.

Their reputation, if you ask older generations, is as followed: they're a lazy, self-absorbed, selfie-taking group of young people who seem completely uninterested in the world outside of a cell phone camera lens.

Breaking down barriers and stereotypes, however, is exactly the platform Knovva Academy, a millennial-run company, was created on. Their flagship program, the Model G20 Youth Leadership Summit was developed to make education a global experience for high school students. The non-profit program combines a hands-on international experience with traditional curriculum to promote cross-cultural competency among future leaders. The Millennials who created the Model G20 Program have also given away over $17,000 in scholarships since the program's inception. They plan on adding to that total with an estimated $15,000 in scholarship awards for 2018.

With growing support from Harvard faculty, educators and industry leaders around the Boston area, the program continues to expand. In 2016, the program welcomed 60 students while the 2nd, in 2017, more than doubled in size. For 2018, the team expects more than 200 students will attend the 5-day program that will take place February 7th to the 11th on campus at Harvard Medical School and other locations around Boston.

Benson Chang, co-founder of Knovva Academy believes the reason for the growing support is the message behind of the program of embracing diversity in the digital age.

"The generation after us is growing up in a 100% digitally-connected world. With a click of a button, they can talk to someone in France or China. It's amazing, but we want to teach them what they can really do with this power they have," said Chang. "They're actually very interested in what's going on around them and how they can help- they just don't feel powerful enough yet," he continued.

Like Benson, most of the Millennials behind the scenes of the Model G20 Summit came to the Boston area to attend university and then ended up staying for the opportunity to work for Knovva Academy. With employees from all around the world, from Peru to Israel to China, each came to the table with their own passion for education and unique global perspectives. Soon after, The Model G20 Summit was born.

What makes the Model G20 Summit unique is the global perspective students are able to gain from it. While the summit welcomes students from all around the world, Knovva Academy ensures that delegates act as representatives and leaders of countries different from their own. This, according to Knovva Academy Staff, helps them learn to understand how people from other countries live, think and work. On a larger scale, it helps them learn how to learn about other countries.

"When students are negotiating with other students as a representative of a country different from their own, it really forces them to take a look outside their world and relate to something that once seemed so unrelatable," said Patricia Lozada, President of the Model G20 Summit.

The program, which takes place over 5 days, begins with 3 days of group studies including lectures, ice-breaking activities, and workshops. All of the lessons center around building the knowledge and skill base they'll need for the final 2 days of negotiations, be it public speaking, research or writing.

During the last 2 days, students put what they've learned into motion as they make negotiations with other countries and plan strategic moves best suited for their own. Students then present their negotiation results during a live-streamed press conference, followed by a banquet, more guest speakers, and an award ceremony. Last year featured guests included former CNN political Reporter and a current writer for The Washington Post, Eugene Scott as well as Jonathan Fantini, who served as a former Whitehouse Aide under the Obama administration and made the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2014.

Focusing on more than just politics, the Knovva Academy program leads students into becoming global citizens through structured activities and moderated discussion with their international peers. Here students can safely voice their opinions in a way that works to build cultural insight and understanding.

"America is in the middle of battling terrorism, dealing with the radicalism of North Korea, and facing issues at home like the police-related incidents and the Las Vegas mass murder. Nobody is safe from a stray bullet or a bomb, so it's important for everyone in my generation and the generations following that we do whatever we can to create policies that encourage safety and protect the American people as well as find ways to help those in other countries to have safer lives," said Noah Levitz, a 2017 Model G20 student.

While Knovva Academy founders knew the program would change the lives of the teens that participated. What they didn't expect was one touching moment from the 2017 Model G20 that showed just how quickly the teens recognized the impact of the program on their own.

One by one, unannounced, students came to the podium during their free time in an impromptu session to thank their mentors, the program founders and their global peers calling the program life-changing and hailing it as an experience they'll never forget. After the closing banquet and ceremony, students spent hours collecting phone numbers, social media handles and of course, taking selfies with their new international friends and mentors. Not bad for a program created by a bunch of #Millennials.

The Model G20 Summit is now accepting applications for the 2018 program in February. Seating is limited. Students are hand-selected by the Model G20 Committee and financial aid is available to those who qualify. Housing options are also available for domestic and international students. Head to for more information.

Knovva Academy is a team of passionate educators from around the world who believe that a great education doesn’t end in the classroom. We value curiosity and diversity and are united by our shared love of learning, so we came together to help students of all backgrounds experience and discuss fresh global perspectives.

Knovva Academy
451 D Street
Suite 710
Boston, MA
Rachel Lemieux
617 577 7770

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