Global Encounters is an international programme for Ismaili Muslim youth focused on service, leadership development, cultural exchange, and global citizenship. Since 2012, over 1,100 participants from 35 countries have made lifelong friendships with their peers from around the globe, contributed nearly 40,000 volunteer hours to local schools and communities, and transformed the way they think about the world. 

Global Encounters gives students the unique opportunity to experience lived pluralism while staying at flagship educational institutions, including the Aga Khan Academies and The Aga Khan University.

During the programme, students:

  • cultivate lifelong friendships with brothers and sisters from around the world;
  • lead projects and volunteer in local schools and communities;
  • gain a deep understanding of development;
  • experience the AKDN's work in action;
  • broaden their perspectives in thought-provoking and challenging courses; 
  • explore arts and culture; 
  • visit world heritage sites; and
  • discover what it means to be a global citizen.

Every year, there are multiple Global Encounters and Global Encounters: Expedition programmes. We are currently located in Kenya, one in India, and one in Pakistan. Global Encounters programmes are typically held in June, July, and August and Global Encounters: Expedition programmes are held in December and January. The programme is open to:

  • Intellectually curious and civic-minded young people who demonstrate leadership, strive for excellence, and have a commitment to serve their communities and countries; 
  • Ismaili Muslim youth between the ages of 15 and 17 years by 1 June of the programme year;
  • Students who have completed at least one year of secondary school, and who will still be enrolled in secondary school during upon returning from Global Encounters;
  • Students who understand and speak English proficiently. 

Applications for the 2020 Global Encounters cycle will open in November.