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Peyton Klein, USA, 17

Project: Global Minds Initiative

Basic Human Needs: Education

The day that Peyton realized she knew the name of every student in her class except for “the girl wearing a hijab,” she felt ashamed that she hadn’t been practicing the inclusion that she preached. As a result, Peyton befriended that classmate. She learned her name, Khwala, along with details about her life and experiences as a refugee in the United States. When Peyton heard stories of the cultural intolerance that Khwala faced, she knew that something had to be done to create more intercultural friendships like theirs. After conducting focus groups and brainstorming sessions with refugee and immigrant students, Peyton founded the Global Minds Initiative to combat discrimination and promote inclusion in schools internationally. The student-led movement is an after-school program that fosters friendships between English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) and Native English Speaking (NES) students. The Global Minds Initiative serves as a language support system for ESL students, while exposing and educating NES students about other cultures. It also inspires globally competent students and helps to bridge the gap between the classroom and the world. Since 2016, the Global Minds Initiative has expanded into 22 schools across the US and Canada, impacting over 1,500 students. In the last few months, Peyton has started building a full-time staff and is strategically planning to widen their reach. Over the next year, she is eager to continue growing the Global Minds Initiative’s school network, as well as to deepen the community impact within existing locations.