World Leadership Congress

About the WLC

Since 1968, the HOBY World Leadership Congress (WLC) has empowered students around the world to broaden their perspective and see themselves as part of something larger—the global community. The WLC is a weeklong program designed to empower rising junior and senior high school students to become more confident, caring leaders, and active global citizens.

Each summer, the WLC hosts student ambassadors representing all 50 states and 15+ countries in a major U.S. city. This week-long, immersive leadership experience challenges students to think critically, communicate effectively, and act with integrity. The WLC leaves students with a robust global network and the tools to change the world around them.

WLC Dates and Registration

The 2023 World Leadership Congress was held at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois during the week of July 22-29, 2023.

We will release information about the 2024 World Leadership Congress in the fall.

Leadership Curriculum on a Global Scale

The World Leadership Congress curriculum guides student ambassadors in an immersive leadership experience as they appreciate and explore five leadership competencies. This curriculum is rooted in the Social Change Model of Leadership and students learn skills that transcend culture and geography.

At the WLC, student Ambassadors learn that:

Leaders are critical thinkers.

After completing this competency, student ambassadors will be able to:

  • expand their views when presented with new information and perspectives
  • ask questions in order to build understanding, rather than their own ideas
  • change their behavior when they learn something new

Leaders create community through effective communication.

After completing this competency, student ambassadors will be able to:

  • understand how they function as a communicator
  • work with people who have a different communication style than their own
  • disagree with someone and discuss opposing viewpoints with respect
  • build positive relationships with others through practicing empathy

Leaders actively seek opportunities for growth.

After completing this competency, student ambassadors will be able to:

  • create and follow through with leadership goals
  • maintain resiliency and a growth mindset when faced with challenges, failures, and setbacks
  • appreciate and reflect upon their growth as a leader in order to pursue new challenges

Leaders respect and appreciate diversity and strive to include all.

After completing this competency, student ambassadors will be able to:

  • seek to explore their identity and how it may develop and change over time
  • understand that their environment shapes how they approach the world
  • skillfully collaborate with people who have different identities and experiences
  • incorporate others’ perspectives when working with others

Leaders change the world around them through action with integrity.

After completing this competency, student ambassadors will be able to:

  • properly assess a leadership opportunity and determine a responsible path forward
  • identify the needs of their community and what they can do to foster positive change to address those needs
  • act with integrity and in alignment with their leadership values
  • strive to change the world around them

Program Outcomes

At the beginning of the seminar, 51% of students agreed that they know how to create change. By the end of the seminar, that percentage was 83%.
At the beginning of the seminar, 76% of students agreed that they seek information before taking action. By the end of the seminar, that percentage was 91%.
At the beginning of the seminar, 60% of students agreed that they understand the needs of their community and what they can do to support those needs. By the end of the seminar, that percentage was 88%.
At the beginning of the seminar, just 65% of students agreed that they see challenges, failures, and setbacks as a way to grow. By the end of the seminar, that percentage increased to 84%.
At the beginning of the seminar, just 64% of students agreed that they follow through on their goals. By the end of the seminar, that percentage increased to 87%.
At the beginning of the seminar, just 63% of students agreed that they are effective communicators. By the end of the seminar, that percentage increased to 85%.
At the beginning of the seminar, just 67% of students agreed that they change their behavior when they learn something new. By the end of the seminar, that percentage increased to 91%.
At the beginning of the seminar, 51% of students agreed that they know how to create change. By the end of the seminar, that percentage was 83%.
At the beginning of the seminar, 76% of students agreed that they seek information before taking action. By the end of the seminar, that percentage was 91%.
At the beginning of the seminar, 60% of students agreed that they understand the needs of their community and what they can do to support those needs. By the end of the seminar, that percentage was 88%.
At the beginning of the seminar, just 65% of students agreed that they see challenges, failures, and setbacks as a way to grow. By the end of the seminar, that percentage increased to 84%.
At the beginning of the seminar, just 64% of students agreed that they follow through on their goals. By the end of the seminar, that percentage increased to 87%.
At the beginning of the seminar, just 63% of students agreed that they are effective communicators. By the end of the seminar, that percentage increased to 85%.
At the beginning of the seminar, just 67% of students agreed that they change their behavior when they learn something new. By the end of the seminar, that percentage increased to 91%.

WLC Highlights

Who Attends

Each year, hundreds of high school students, rising high school juniors and seniors, from nearly every state in the U.S. and 15+ countries expand their leadership skills and global perspectives at the World Leadership Congress.

While the majority of student ambassadors have attended a HOBY State Leadership Seminar, students who have participated in other leadership or service organizations are also eligible to attend the WLC.

Fast Facts

1 Major U.S. City
7 Days
300+ Student Ambassadors
15+ Countries Represented
100+ Volunteers
Established More than 50 Years Ago
Ambassadors have attended from:
Albania, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany,
Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Sierra
Leone, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey,
Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and more!

International Participation in the WLC

Since the World Leadership Congress began in 1968, student ambassadors from 30+ countries have attended. As our WLC alumni know well, building a global network of peers when you’re in high school not only expands personal perspectives, but helps students acknowledge their role as a global citizen.

Are you a student living outside the United States interested in attending the WLC? Are you interested in sending students to the WLC to represent your school, community, and country? Let us know! We look forward to connecting with you!

Hear the HOBY Hype

“The WLC is the start to a lifelong journey [of]becoming a better person for yourself, and the people around you. Every waking second in those 7 days is dedicated to building yourself up in all aspects of your life. You spend the week amongst some of the greatest individuals of our generation. You will return home a more complete human being, and with a network of your fellow alumni who will stand when you need it most.”
Constantine A.
HOBY Alumni
“I didn't know to what extent our generation is willing to work to change things. That's the WLC; it inspires you and let you inspire.”
Daniela E.
HOBY Alumni
“This was a transformative experience for my daughter. She was able to finally "find her people" during the WLC. And that has translated into a huge self-confidence boost and a very positive attitude about the new school year and her future plans. She returned home a much more hopeful and empowered young person!”
Leila S.
HOBY Parent
"HOBY has given me the confidence to lead others and to share my opinions and experiences. HOBY was one of the most influential moments in my life and has strengthened my character, leadership ability, and love of service!"
Olivia G.
HOBY Alum
"HOBY is a big family of students and staff from all over the world. The support and encouragement you receive from your peers and mentors is truly unmatched. I cannot say I have ever been in a space as positive and uplifting as HOBY seminars."
Sabeen S.
HOBY Volunteer
“Sending my Sarah to HOBY was one of the wisest things I have done as a parent. She came back more confident, her outlook on the future was more positive, and feeling like she has a sense of purpose. Sarah’s biggest benefit was the leadership skills that she learned and her exposure to people from many different cultures who have become friends.”
Shawn G.
HOBY Parent
“The WLC is the start to a lifelong journey [of]becoming a better person for yourself, and the people around you. Every waking second in those 7 days is dedicated to building yourself up in all aspects of your life. You spend the week amongst some of the greatest individuals of our generation. You will return home a more complete human being, and with a network of your fellow alumni who will stand when you need it most.”
Constantine A.
HOBY Alumni
“I didn't know to what extent our generation is willing to work to change things. That's the WLC; it inspires you and let you inspire.”
Daniela E.
HOBY Alumni
“This was a transformative experience for my daughter. She was able to finally "find her people" during the WLC. And that has translated into a huge self-confidence boost and a very positive attitude about the new school year and her future plans. She returned home a much more hopeful and empowered young person!”
Leila S.
HOBY Parent
"HOBY has given me the confidence to lead others and to share my opinions and experiences. HOBY was one of the most influential moments in my life and has strengthened my character, leadership ability, and love of service!"
Olivia G.
HOBY Alum
"HOBY is a big family of students and staff from all over the world. The support and encouragement you receive from your peers and mentors is truly unmatched. I cannot say I have ever been in a space as positive and uplifting as HOBY seminars."
Sabeen S.
HOBY Volunteer
“Sending my Sarah to HOBY was one of the wisest things I have done as a parent. She came back more confident, her outlook on the future was more positive, and feeling like she has a sense of purpose. Sarah’s biggest benefit was the leadership skills that she learned and her exposure to people from many different cultures who have become friends.”
Shawn G.
HOBY Parent