News — July 30, 2019

JCI Academy: Working Together to Change the World

Each summer for the last 32 years, a select group of young leaders from JCI travel across the globe to the annual JCI Academy—an event that encourages young people who want to make global impact through leadership in their JCI Organization. The up and coming leaders made their way to Karuizawa, Japan to embark on learning about strength, cooperation and gain cultural understanding. Not only are delegates given the tools to become global leaders during this event, but they also immerse themselves in the culture of a new community while furthering sustainable development. 

The environment surrounding this event is meant to empower the future leaders of JCI through communication and building relationships with young people who want to figure out the solutions to problems existing in their communities. To help build this academy environment, the course leader who led the Academy program 2016 JCI President, Paschal Dike, who has traveled around the world as a JCI leader, listening and learning from members of this organization. Through a combination of trainings, seminars and workshops as well as sharing his own leadership experiences as the face of JCI, Past President Dike inspired these global leaders to focus on creating sustainable impact through the various skills needed to be exemplary young active citizens. 

While having 80 young leaders from different communities and various backgrounds, the academy delegates spent the 10 days in Karuizawa focusing on the the academy theme: Work Together. Collaborating with others is a key skill that JCI leaders must demonstrate during their year of leadership, as well as active listening, examining challenges and obstacles faced by others, and critical thinking to efficiently solve problems. Franchette Emilien traveled from East Africa to Karuizawa with an open mind and desire to discover more about herself and global leadership. Emilien was inspired by the theme Work Together, stating, “I was exposed to issues present in different countries, worked out sustainable solutions with the different delegates while finding solutions to problems that exist in my own community in Mauritius.” 

Each delegate walked into the academy with a perspective on what leadership means and what working together entails. “Prior to the JCI Academy, my definition of leadership was to lead by example, be kind and have courage,” expressed JCI USA delegate, Justin Wutzke. “What came out of my time in Karuizawa was beyond my imagination. I had a completely emotional and enlightening experience. In Japan, they build Tomoni Yarimasu leaders—leaders who work together. Learning this lesson was the most influential training I could have received as a future leader of this organization.”

By the end of this academy, the future leaders of JCI left Japan with the skills needed to create impact at the local level. Thanks to the lessons learned at the academy, these JCI members will embark on their upcoming leadership year with strength, cooperation and a depth cultural understanding of what sustainable impact looks like at the local level. Wutzke left this experience thinking, “Most of our global conflicts could be solved if we were more patient, practiced active listening and we transform ourselves using effective communication.” For Emilien, she realized that members from other areas, including herself, were not aware of the issues taking place in other parts of the world. “After attending this event, I believe we should work closer together to understand the challenges happening in other areas. A way we can be exposed to the challenges and solutions other communities are facing is by joining advocacy campaigns, such as I Am Africa and Step Up for Europe, for greater impact toward global sustainability,” proclaimed Emilien.

With this event, JCI members were taught to speak with intention, listen more clearly and act with purpose as they begin their journey as JCI local leaders. As Justin Wutzke, Franchette Emilien and the other delegates who attended the JCI Academy settle back into their daily routines in their local communities, don’t forget the lessons learned and the connections built with global leaders wanting to change the world for the better. 

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