21st Century Changemakers: Education Leaders Advance Civic Engagement among High School Youth – A Multi-Regional Project

Teachers, Academic Administrators, Government Officials, and NGO Representatives embarked on a 3-week project to explore U.S. approaches towards youth empowerment through citizenship, leadership, social media, and social justice. This project examined model programs and social campaigns in a variety of contexts such as public high schools, colleges and universities, associations, youth clubs, sports programs, arts programs, interfaith initiatives, and political advocacy. Key meetings for participants included visits to U.S. high schools in Maryland, California, Ohio, Iowa, and Florida to observe best practices of programs and in classrooms that promote volunteerism, empowerment, and technology within their student community.

The project explored the impact of social media/digital literacy on civic engagement in order to identify and debunk disinformation in the online world. Also, how social media and social networking develop new avenues for civic engagement and participation among youth. Participants gained insight into the potential for social media to negatively influence civic engagement by spreading disinformation that may dissuade participation or drive less constructive, more polarizing forms of engagement.  Participants examined the importance of pluralism, tolerance, and volunteerism as components of civic life in the United States too. While in Pensacola, Florida participants volunteered alongside Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council’s Youth Diplomats in their Saturday morning “Ocean Hour” beach cleanup, which utilizes social media and technology to crowd-source cleanups around the globe on a weekly basis.


Sponsors and Partners

U.S. Department of State
International Visitor Leadership Program, U.S. Department of State
Northern California World Trade Center
Cleveland Council on World Affairs
Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC)
Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council
San Antonio Council for International Visitors

Project summary

21st Century Changemakers: Education Leaders Advance Civic Engagement among High School Youth – A Multi-Regional Project
Number of Visitors: 17
Regions: Europe and Eurasia, Near East and North Africa
Countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Kosovo, Latvia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan
Impact Areas: Education, Youth Leadership Development
Program Areas: Global Leadership