From: the Jane Goodall Institute
Published April 25, 2008 04:55 PM

International Youth Leaders Energized to Make Change After Jane Goodall's Global Youth Summit

Arlington, VA One hundred youth from six continents and 28 countries are heading home today after taking part in Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit.

This first annual event, which took place April 19 - 25 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., mobilized the young leaders to address some of the critical issues facing the planet. The attendees are returning to their communities with a renewed commitment to making positive change happen and armed with the knowledge that - together - they can make the world a better place.

Summit participants were hand-picked by world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and partner organizations to take part in the all-expenses-paid, first-of-its-kind event. All attendees were outstanding young people with a strong history of community service and demonstrated leadership qualities.

Over the course of the Summit, the young people were able to dialogue with a dynamic panel of experts, share cross-cultural ideas, strengthen their leadership skills and create messages through digital media. Perhaps most unique, they identified key issues and developed self-led workshops and discussions to tackle the topics that concerned them. They decided what they wanted to focus on whether it be species conservation, conflict resolution or some other pressing issue.

Working in small groups, the participants broke down transnational boundaries and gained firsthand knowledge about the cross-cultural collaboration needed to solve the world's greatest problems. Each of these extraordinary young leaders left the Summit equipped with a "toolbox for changing the world" and individual action plans for protecting the future. In the year following the Summit, the participants will work to implement their plans within their respective communities.

"These past few days have been so stimulating and moving," said Dr. Goodall. "I know I speak for everyone involved when I say we are leaving energized, inspired and filled with a new hope for the future and new ideas for encouraging others to bring about a more peaceful world."

"So many kids today feel lost when they think about the problems facing our planet," said Manoj Gautam, a 22-year-old student from Nepal who works to save endangered species. "The Summit gave me the means and the confidence to go home and continue my efforts to make a difference. I was able to spend five incredible days with some of the most amazing young people. Equally inspirational were the lessons I learned from Dr. Goodall who rolled up her sleeves and worked alongside us."

Erica Fernandez, 17, of Oxnard, Calif., summed up her Summit experience as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." Erica and her high school classmates are active in coastal conservation efforts. "I was so excited to meet people just like me from so many different countries and learn about the issues facing their communities and how they are tackling them."

Participants at the Summit also had the opportunity to work with the Mobile Learning Institute, a Pearson Foundation - Nokia alliance. The Mobile Learning Institute enabled the youth to create and share short digital films about the issues of greatest importance to them. The attendees are bringing their finished films home and will use them to implement their customized action plan and local conservation efforts. According to eighteen-year-old David Chase from Cape Cod, Mass., "Most of the time, these events are just about bringing kids together. This time, we’re going home with the technology to make change happen, which is pretty amazing."

JGI’s core competencies in community-centered conservation and youth education made it particularly well-suited to organize the Summit. Dr. Goodall, who founded JGI in 1977, is inspirational "proof" that one committed individual can make a world of difference. And her message of hope speaks directly to young people. Roots & Shoots, JGI's global environmental and humanitarian youth program, has a proven track record of engaging young people in service-learning projects that benefit people, animals and the environment. Dr. Goodall began Roots & Shoots in 1991 with just a small group of Tanzanian students. Today, Roots & Shoots involves nearly 100,000 youth in almost 100 countries and it’s growing every day. The strength of the program is its unique methodology that highlights a youth-driven assessment process and identification of actual community needs.

Dr. Goodall, JGI and all the participants expressed their gratitude to the Summit’s partners and corporate sponsors who share their commitment to the leaders of tomorrow. Without the support of Disney, Whirlpool Corporation, Delta Air Lines and the Mobile Learning Institute, the Summit would not have been possible. Working with these and other organizations, JGI hopes the Summit will grow in size and prestige to become the premier annual gathering for young leaders across the globe.

For more information about Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit, please visit

About the Jane Goodall Institute
Founded in 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute continues Dr. Goodall's pioneering research of chimpanzee behavior -- research that transformed scientific perceptions of the relationship between humans and animals. Today, the Institute is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. It also is widely recognized for establishing innovative community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa, and the Roots & Shoots education program, which has groups in almost 100 countries. For more information, please visit

About Roots & Shoots
Founded in 1991 by Dr. Jane Goodall and a group of Tanzanian students, the Roots & Shoots program is about making positive change happen - for our communities, for animals and for the environment. With tens of thousands of young people in almost 100 countries, the Roots & Shoots network connects youth of all ages who share a desire to create a better world. Young people identify problems in their communities and take action. Through service projects, youth-led campaigns and an interactive website, Roots & Shoots members are making a difference across the globe. For more information, please visit

Note to editors: Images for this press release including high quality pictures of the event can be found

Contact Info: Claire Jones

Website : the Jane Goodall Institute

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