Finding Your “Sonder” at HOBY’s World Leadership Congress

Staying on a college campus in Chicago for the World Leadership Conference (WLC)—what an opportunity! Thanks to her positive experience at HOBY Arizona, my daughter jumped at the chance to attend The World Leadership Congress (WLC). My husband, daughter, and I are so glad that she attended.

In explaining HOBY to others, I say that it is a “youth leadership program,” but HOBY and the WLC provide so much more than a typical leadership program. The WLC encourages participants to think about who they are, to accept themselves, and to accept their peers as they are. Our family recently learned the word “sonder,” which means the realization that everyone, including every stranger you pass in the streets, is living a full life. These passersby have a life as vivid and complex as your own, with their own friends, families, ambitions, and stories. My daughter said that the WLC gave her a sense of sonder as she met young people from all over the United States and the world. She enjoyed getting to know her roommate from Florida and fellow participants from Albania, Argentina, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, among other places.

The WLC experience showed my daughter that leadership comes in many forms. In addition to speaking and inspiring others, she came to see how leadership is often manifested in the day-to-day details of planning and coordination. Since returning from WLC, she has connected a group of her schoolmates in service to a nonprofit organization that engages refugees in community food networks. This effort has improved her communication skills and fortified her patience.

Parents, if you are considering the World Leadership Conference experience for your child, please go for it! You will be so happy that you made this decision.

-Martha S. Lee
Tucson, Arizona
HOBY Arizona and WLC 2018 Parent

The World Leadership Congress brings together more than 400 students from across the United States and around the world for a week of inspiration, discovery and fun. You will leave empowered with the tools and support to reach your goals and be an active global citizen. Next Summer, The World Leadership Congress will be held at Loyola University, Chicago, Sunday, July 26th – Saturday, August 1.


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