2021 Upper School Student SDG Summit

Convening the Future Changemakers

Envoys is proud to host the Upper School Student SDG Summit for 9-12th graders on January 31st, 2021.

From the kickoff celebration on January 29th to the full day of programming on the 31st, this Summit brings together a diverse group of students to take part in designing, testing, and iterating solutions to some of the worlds most intractable problems. While learning about the various global issues that gave rise to the SDGs, we’ll learn about ourselves—and about how each of us can harness our leadership to make sustainable change in our communities.

2020 was a watershed moment in global history that will deeply affect the course of economic, political, and social life in the twenty-first century. Students and young people have watched as global leaders attempted to navigate a grave pandemic, environmental crises, and global protests for racial justice, all the while being asked to think and learn in radically new ways. 

Students’ voices matter as we look to the future challenges we face as a global society. This summit provides opportunities for students to develop their own awareness of their thinking on key global issues relevant in 2021, and to verbalize their perspectives and critical thinking in creative, thoughtful projects.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a blueprint for the transition to a healthier planet and a more just world, for present and future generations. With concrete targets, the Goals aim to end poverty and hunger, expand access to health, education, justice and jobs, promote inclusive and sustained economic growth, while protecting our planet from environmental degradation. 

Action is producing results, but the worldwide pandemic requires a renewed effort to make positive change. Conflict, climate change, lack of access to essential health services, growing inequalities and significant financing gaps have limited the impact of global efforts. The people left behind continue to suffer the most, including those in small island developing states, least developed countries and landlocked developing countries.

Program Details

Following the kickoff on January 29th, students will spend a full day together on January 31st gaining inspiration from expert speakers and collaborate virtually on short, fun, and meaningful projects and collaborations. This program is designed for students aged 14-19.

Far from being a lecture or a simulation, students instead work directly to dream up new ways to accelerate progress towards realizing the SDGs on local, national, and global levels, presenting their final projects to UN Youth Observer Dustin Liu.

This is a student-driven event, facilitated by Envoys. While educators are welcome to observe, student groups do not need to be accompanied by a faculty member to attend! Students participating in the conference will need the ability to log into a Zoom call and access Google collaborative products (Docs and Jamboard)

Register as an individual or as a cohort!

Early Registrations closed on January 8th

Regular registrations will close on January 22nd

Regular Registration

$165 for individuals

$550 for a small cohort (up to 4)

$1325 for a medium cohort (up to 10)

$2425 for a large cohort (up to 25)

Participants in this Summit will have the opportunity to further their project ideas through the United Nations Association, allowing them to find additional collaborators, present at UNA/UN conferences, and work on the SDGs in their local community with like-minded UN advocates.

Conference Sessions

Students participating in the conference will need the ability to log into a Zoom call and access Google collaborative products (Docs and Jamboard).

The kickoff session on January 29th will run from 6:00 – 7:30 PM EST.

The full-day session on January 31st will run from 11:30 – 4:30 PM EST.

We meet to discuss our unique communities and backgrounds, setting the stage for the session to come. We create usable norms to aid our processes for collaborative work, and make visible our respective learning goals.

We hear from subject-matter experts on selected SDGs, considering both the ‘big picture’ as well as examples of how real people and organizations on the ground make tangible progress around the world.

Following the UN Model format, participants are challenged to represent one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals while they face a series of scenarios involving issues of global significance. The dynamic provides an in-depth perspective of the individual targets for each SDG, as well as a broader understanding of how they all connect to each other. The debate will serve as input for the development of the group projects.

We look at existing models for accelerating progress on particular SDGs, analyzing their strengths and shortcomings. We then use them as inspiration to rapidly produce new creative works that expand on the strengths and invite new possibilities.

Each team shares their work, noting both the results and crystallizing the lessons learned along the way.

As a final step in the conference, participants come together in an act of collective learning, setting out a declaration of beliefs and actions that every member commits to achieving in the time to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are faculty/adults involved?

This event is designed for students only. The majority of spaces are dedicated to groups of students working independently in small groups. There will be targeted moments when adults can participate and check-in with their student delegations.

What are the exact times that students need to be connected?

Students are expected to arrive five minutes early and be present from 11:00 am-4:30 pm (Eastern Time), with LOTS of breaks.

How can I get help with a technical issue?

Participants can get help through our Tech Support page, which will be available several weeks prior to the Summit. There will be a Live Chat available throughout the program, as well as other contact options.

What are the student waivers all about?

Students will be asked to fill out a waiver acknowledging Envoys’ privacy policy and other key points. If you have any questions about the form, please contact us.

What if I registered but cannot longer attend?

We’re sorry you won’t be able to make it. All registrations are non-refundable.

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