3 Things I’m Looking Forward to at the 2017 Leadership Summit

Advocacy , Education , Events , Leadership , Supporters in Action

As the 2017 Girl Up Leadership Summit approaches, I can’t help but think what the future holds for girls around the world.  The 6th annual Girl Up Leadership Summit will be held from July 17 – 19 and will host more than 350 girls from 11 different countries – that’s right 11 countries! This three-day jam packed event will sharpen your leadership skills, give you the opportunity to build long-lasting friendships and of course, have fun as we unite to change the world!

This year attendees can expect a wide range of inspirational speakers, activities like a yoga session the night before summit and girl leaders just like you who are advocates in their communities.

Though it’s hard to choose, I’m going to share with you the three things I’m most looking forward to at this year’s Leadership Summit:

  1. The Inspiring Speakers

Monique Coleman, Girl Up Champion and actress speaking at the 2016 Girl Up Leadership Summit.

There’s nothing like listening to your favorite #GirlHero give you advice on how to be an advocate for girls, refugees and education.

One of those speakers is Anousheh Ansari, the first female civilian astronaut and a successful entrepreneur. The sky is the limit for Anousheh. I can’t wait to hear Anousheh talk about how she achieved her lifelong dream of being a civilian astronaut and how she went on to co-found her new technology company Prodea Systems.

Mari Copeny, aka Little Miss Flint, is an environmental activist for girls and women of all ages. Mari reminds us of our power to speak for those who don’t have a voice. She’s never been afraid to stand up for other people’s rights, proving that, no matter what age, girls can be advocates.

Ilhan Omar is the Minnesota House Representative for District 60B, and the first Somali-American lawmaker in the U.S. As a former refugee, Ilhan knows first-hand the challenges that female refugees face. She talks about her election as “a victory for that 8-year-old in that refugee camp.”

A list of all the speakers for the summit can be found on our website.


  1. Capitol Hill Day aka Lobby Day

Girl Up Club members stand tall at the 2016 Girl Up Leadership Summit Lobby Day.

On the third day of the Leadership Summit we’ll march up the steps to Capitol Hill. Each girl will advocate to their U.S. Congressmember. This year we’re going to ensure that we can count on their support for H.R. 2408, Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings.

When we talk about grassroots movements and change, we mean having hundreds of girls and supporters storm through Capitol Hill and stand up for refugee girls’ right to an education. On Lobby Day, you’ll participate in high-level advocacy, as you go office to office, building to building, to ensure girls in developing countries receive an education. As past participants have said, every thing we do at the summit leads up to that moment on Capitol Hill. I hope you take the connections and inspirations you’ve had at the summit to showcase your passion for refugees and education on this day and back home after the summit.

  1. More Girls Than Ever Before

Last year’s Girl Up Leadership Summit hosted 275 girls.

This year we’re proud to say that 350 girls have signed up to attend the Girl Up Leadership Summit. More girls mean more friends to welcome into the Girl Up community. I always love hearing how girls leave the summit feeling inspired and go on to start clubs at their schools – some even outside of the U.S. The Leadership Summit is an exciting time for the Girl Up family to come together, celebrate and rise up in true Girl Up spirit. Throughout the years, I’ve seen long-lasting friendships form that go beyond Washington, D.C.

With so much to look forward to it’s hard to believe that the summit is next week! I encourage you to get excited, find a roommate if you haven’t already done so already, post your questions in the Girl Up Leadership Summit Community Group and don’t forget to use the #GirlsLead17. Want to know more about what to expect? Read what Samiha Rao, Franklin High School Girl Up Club Leader had to say about attending last year’s Girl Up Leadership Summit for the first time here.