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Summer Youth Program 2017

Future Leaders Summer Program

2022 session cancelled; to resume in Summer 2023

Based at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), This unique summer program at UC San Diego is designed for high school students to develop problem-solving and diplomacy skills in global affairs, especially as they pertain to the roles of China, the U.S., Pacific and Indo-Pacific region countries including Mexico and India. In this program, you will participate in a digital simulation platform and role-playing teams. Through guided readings, lectures, discussion and negotiations, you will produce an action plan that emphasizes common-ground solutions in four areas: climate change, energy innovation (e.g. renewable energy, electric vehicles, etc.), artificial intelligence and international trade.

View photos

Program at a Glance

  • Cross-cultural teams of students living in campus dormitories
  • Game-based approach to tackling global issues
  • Simulation of negotiation on key global policies, with a focus on Pacific and Indo-Pacific region countries
  • Taught by award-winning teachers with lectures by global experts from UC San Diego
  • Visits to world-class labs and research institutions
  • Excursions to San Diego beaches, cultural and historical sites
  • Official transcript from UC San Diego with 1 unit of pre-collegiate credit after program completion
  • A session with UC San Diego admissions officers
  • Needs-based scholarships available


  • Domestic and international students entering 10th-12th grade
  • Demonstrated English proficiency for international students

Click here and complete a brief interest form if you want us to contact you once we have confirmed Summer 2023 (expect to hear from us in mid-fall).

Program and Curriculum

The program tackles four critical issues of global importance. During the interactive game play you will learn about the latest scientific research and discoveries that have promoted innovation and influenced global policy decisions in one of the four focus areas: climate change, energy innovation, artificial intelligence and international trade.

All participants will receive an official transcript certifying one pre-collegiate credit from UC San Diego.

Part of the programming includes site visits to scientific institutes including:

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the oldest and largest ocean and Earth science research center 
  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies, a top research institute in biological sciences Salk
  • Jacobs School of Engineering, largest and strongest engineering school in the entire UC system 
  • Qualcomm Institute, one of the four technology institutes in the UC system to devote to multidisciplinary research and technological innovation
  • San Diego Supercomputer Center, one of the nation’s first supercomputer centers and a leader in data-intensive computing and cyber infrastructure
  • World Trade Center San Diego


Participant surveys were conducted before and after the program to determine what effects it had on the attitudes and behavior of the participants. Surveys were conducted in previous programs that focused on U.S.-China bilateral relations. Overall, the results showed more favorable attitudes toward the counterpart nation, and increased interest in peaceful cooperation between the two countries on a range of global policy issues. Additionally, students developed increased confidence in their problem solving and conflict resolution skills, and in their cross-cultural communication and critical thinking abilities. Focus group reflections showed students value most their interactions with other students, especially those from their counterpart country.

Fun Adventures 

Participate and attend social activities and special events that will make your experience unforgettable, including team-building adventures offered by UC San Diego Challenge Course, a visit to Birch Aquarium, beach party and Old Town San Diego.


Kristen Druker is an award-winning high school teacher and founder of Peaceconferencing, a game-based educational experience for youth supported by a simulation platform. She won the Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association for innovative curriculum and was honored as one of the first California State Mentor Teachers. 

Guest lectures will be provided other renowned scholars from UC San Diego. Past guest lecturers included:

  • Susan Shirk, Chair of 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy and former deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for U.S. policy toward China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia in 1997-2000.
  • Gordon McCord, an economist who works at the intersection of development economics, public health and the environment.
  • Shirley Meng, professor of NanoEngineering and Materials Science working on new materials for energy storage and conversion.
  • Lei Guang, director of 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.

Application and Deadline

Thank you for your interest in the program. It is with deep regret to inform you that this summer’s Future Leaders Summer Program will be canceled. The immersive experience cannot be replicated via remote instruction. The university maintains everyone’s health as a number one priority and believes this will continue to help in our social distancing efforts to battle the spread of COVID-19. Please check back this summer as we will be holding webinars throughout the summer as global problem solving is ever more important. To stay in touch, please contact a representative at:

Program Materials


CW3E Presents at UCSD’s U.S.-China Future Leaders Summer Program

July 26, 2018 | Center For Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E)
GPS’s 21st Century China Center, in partnership with the Global Leadership Institute, hosted high school students on campus for its annual U.S.-China Future Leaders Summer Program

Promoting U.S.-China Cooperation in Global Affairs

Aug. 30, 2017 | By Elaine Wei | The Bishops School 
GPS’s 21st Century China Center, in partnership with the Global Leadership Institute, hosted high school students on campus for its annual U.S.-China Future Leaders Summer Program

Educating the next generation of US-China leaders

 By Anthony King | GPS News
GPS’s 21st Century China Center, in partnership with the Global Leadership Institute, hosted high school students on campus for its inaugural American and Chinese Future Leaders Summer Program


Madison Malowney

“Through the U.S.-China Future Leaders Program, I learned leadership and speech skills, how to peacefully negotiate and gained a global perspective. This program is truly an unforgettable experience filled with laughter, learning and life-long friends.
– Madison Malowney, The Netherlands

Ryan Vincent

"I was accepted to 5 out of the 6 schools I applied, and I think a large part of that was due to my participation in the U.S.-China Future Leaders Summer Program. It changed my perspective not only about the topics we discussed but how I saw the world as a whole."
– Ryan Vincent, sophomore, San Diego

Xiyi Li

It made me more confident in communications and problem solving, which really helps me prepare for college.
– Xiya Li, senior, San Diego/Shanghai