In July 2010, Punahou School launched and hosted the inaugural Student Global Leadership Institute (SGLI), an annual initiative made possible by generous grants from the Edward E. Ford Foundation and the Education Research Initiative (a partnership of Lenovo, Intel and Microsoft), with additional support from the Freeman Foundation and the Luke Center for Chinese Studies. Subsequently, SGLI received grants from the Stephen E. and Isabella H. Stevens World Peace Foundation. Currently, the Luke Family generously supports SGLI as it enters its 10th year.

The purpose of the Institute is to develop a community of international youth leaders who understand and are engaged in shared global challenges and who galvanize positive social change. The Institute explores leadership development characterized by creativity, a capacity for problem-solving, collaboration, communication and multicultural perspectives.

The Institute focuses on engaging students in team-developed community service projects, addressing worldwide issues such as the environment, economics and globalization. The yearlong program includes an intensive two-week summit at Punahou School, during which students participate in workshops, discussions and field trips that help them develop social-action projects suitable for their home cities — and the collaborative style of leadership needed to carry them out.

The students implement the projects during their senior year, aided by a customized computer network that allows them to track their progress, support one another through online discussions, broaden their social perspective and exchange ideas with different cultures. A diverse network of mentors, including faculty, nonprofit leaders and entrepreneurs, provide support.

SGLI Around the World

Punahou is working with its partner schools not only to bring their students to Hawaii, but also to create parallel programs around the world, such as the Oakridge SGLI program in Hyderabad, India, creating a truly global leadership program. The SGLI India program is currently supported by funding from the Jhanmandas Watumull Foundation.