Global Youth Leadership Institute (GYLI) was originally founded as Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) a program of ISACS in November of 2001. Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) exists to offer the 400 independent private schools in the Midwest two things: school accreditation and teacher professional development. The members of the ISACS equity and justice committee meet in Chicago in November of 2001 and felt the events of 9/11/2001 were a wake up call to new kinds of relationships between groups: Muslims, Christians and Jews; Males and Females; Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks; Youth and Adults.

This group of teachers set out to create programs the would help people engage in real conversations and real projects across lines of difference. From 2002 to 2005 we built a 3-year high school sequence: 5 days on a tall ship, 7 days in Northern New Mexico, and 11 days in Costa Rica, to help both students and teachers come alive to new ways to live and work in our communities. In 2005, GYLI was incorporated by Matt Nink in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where it has been headquartered ever since. In 2010 we executed our first grants from the US State Department, and first programs to India. In 2011 we offered a conference for educators in Costa Rica. In 2012 we offer our first program solely for educators in the Dominican Republic. Regardless of when or where a GYLI program happens, we seek to examine what our individual leadership roles are in a diverse world, where we each fit into the global and historical landscape, and what gifts we each bring make our communities stronger. Check out our interactive timeline of our history below!