Student Global Leadership Institute: From India to Punahou

Photos by Allen Murabayashi ’90

Wo International Center’s Student Global Leadership Institute (SGLI) was launched at Punahou in 2010, and has inspired a community of international youth leaders who are engaged in understanding shared global challenges and who galvanize positive social change. In 2016, a second SGLI was introduced in Hyderabad, India, at Oakridge International School. Each year, a theme is chosen to guide students’ thinking. This year’s theme is peace.

What is SGLI?The yearlong program includes an intensive two-week summit at Punahou School or Oakridge International School in the summer, during which students from around the world participate in workshops, discussions and field trips that help them develop social-action projects suitable for their home cities.

Students implement the projects during their senior year, aided by a customized computer network that allows them to track their progress, support one another through online discussions, broaden their social perspective and exchange ideas across different cultures.


Students visit Shilparamam Crafts Village for souvenir shopping and to get their hands and arms decorated by mehndi artists.
After spending an entire day working on an organic farm, students let off some steam by racing in nearby mud fields.
Sydney Lum ’18 helps organic farmers plow fields using oxen and traditional plow. The Dirty Feet organization takes city students to farms to learn about organic farming. This all-day experience included planting tomato seeds, helping local farmers load the seedlings on their tractors, making scarecrows, pulling weeds, making fertilizer, building irrigation paths to various plots to prep for next crops and harvesting vegetables.
Carl Chang ’18 (third from left) and other SGLI participants help local farmers harvest crops and prepare for market.
Oakridge International students teach SGLI students a popular Bollywood dance to prepare them for Bollywood night on campus.


In a team building exercise, SGLI Punahou student groups were tasked with building a ramp out of cardboard to see whose Lego car would travel the farthest.
Students were tasked to plan and execute a pop-up activity that would advance the mission of peace in either Kapi’olani Park or Ala Moana Beach Park. Students offered passing strangers hugs and opportunities to practice tai chi, fold cranes or do yoga.
SGLI participants offer two-minute meditation sessions to passersby at Kapi’olani Park.
Students from International Christian University High School and Gakushuin Girls’ schools inTokyo shared their traditional dress and dance with other students during the SGLI talent show.
During community night, students met with Judge Sabrina McKenna as she shared about the judiciary’s role as peacemaker
Students hiked to Rocky Hill where they learned the chant “E ala e” in preparation for the following day’s sunrise hike up to the Makapu’u lighthouse to greet the sun.

SGLI was started with founding grants from the Edward E. Ford Foundation and the Education Research Initiative (a partnership of Lenovo, Microsoft and Intel) with additional support from the Luke Center for Chinese Studies and The Freeman Foundation. Continuing generous support has been provided by the Stephen E. and Isabella H. Stevens World Peace Foundation, and the Jhamandas Watumull Fund.