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OUR STORY

GYI was born from a conversation between founder Neil Ghosh and Mother Teresa in Kolkata, India in 1996. They spoke about faith, charity, and compassion, and shared a deep concern that young people are seldom recognized as stakeholders on issues affecting their communities and instead are systematically excluded from participation in influencing development. Mother Teresa’s belief in the untapped power of youth inspired Neil to design an initiative challenging young people to find solutions to the problems they face every day.

In 2013 GYI’s pilot program, an essay contest called Youth Speak Up for Poverty and Peace, opened to 10,000 middle and high school students and received more than 1000 essays from youth who brought their creativity and passion to essays about promoting peace and tolerance and combatting poverty in their communities.

Based on this success, the GYI team has met with leaders around the world to share ideas, seek support and incorporate new strategies for engaging with youth. The GYI program design and concept has gained support from President William J. Clinton, Secretary Hillary Clinton, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and many other leaders and luminaries.

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