The Brown Leadership Institute

Cultivating young leaders for social change

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the problems facing our global community. At this moment young people like you from all over the world are contemplating their futures with a mix of excitement and uncertainty. Many are wondering what role they can have in building a more inclusive, peaceful, and equitable world.

The Brown Leadership Institute believes that young people are already making powerful contributions to their communities, and, through participation in this program, no matter your current level of engagement, you can increase your ability to advance social justice.

To prepare young people to create positive change, this innovative program integrates three foundational components: study of a compelling academic topic, exploration of socially responsible leadership, and development of a meaningful action plan.

The high school students in the Brown Leadership Institute possess a diversity of experiences, interests, and leadership skills. At the same time, they share a passion for advancing social justice around issues that are important to them. The Brown Leadership Institute cultivates an inclusive, welcoming, and affirming environment. As a Leadership Institute student, you will be challenged, inspired, and supported by our faculty and curriculum, and energized by engagement with students from all over the world.

2020 Program Dates

June 14 - June 26
June 28 - July 10
July 12 - July 24


For students completing grades 9-12, ages 15-18 by June 2021. Students must be at least 15 years old to participate in residential experience.

Information Sessions

form Courses

Life on Campus

Study, Practice, Transform

Study with Faculty Experts

Leadership Institute students select one course of study from an array of options, each focusing on current social issues.

Summer 2020 Courses Include:

  • Women and Leadership
  • Leadership and Social Justice
  • Leadership and Conflict Resolution
  • Leadership and Global Engagement
  • Informed Leadership: The Politics of Science and Society
  • Social Entrepeneurship
  • Future of Science, Technology and Medicine
  • Global Health
  • Law and Social Change
  • Immigration and Refugee Policy in the United States
  • Controversies in Contemporary Social Policy: Gun Violence in America
  • Leadership for Environmental Justice

View all 2020 Leadership Institute courses »

All Leadership Institute students enroll in one course for the two-week program and attend class sessions twice a day.

Practice Socially Responsible Leadership

The Brown Leadership Institute believes that all students have the capacity to effect positive change for their communities. We expand upon traditional definitions of leadership, introducing participants to an accessible model that promotes collaboration self-knowledge, community engagement, empowerment, and social justice. Through interactive workshops students further have the opportunity to develop and practice active listening, public speaking, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and teamwork.

Transform your Passion into Informed Action

Socially responsible leadership is a lifelong pursuit that requires ongoing learning, reflection, and commitment. In a complicated and challenging world, the Leadership Institute provides students guidance, insight, and empowerment to address critical issues in meaningful and sustainable ways. As a key component of the integrated learning in and out of the classroom, students develop an action plan that builds on their new knowledge and can be applied to issues facing their home community. Recent action plan topics include:

  • organizing a youth march around LGBTQ+ rights;
  • creating a teen advisory board to inform local government;
  • providing free SAT tutoring for low-income students;
  • raising awareness about the impact of climate change;
  • implementing workshops on healthy relationships

See how Leadership Institute students have put their learning into action!

Learn for the sake of learning

The Leadership Institute provides challenging academic opportunities without the pressure of formal grades, allowing students to concentrate on learning and the process of scholarship. In lieu of a final grade, students will receive a Course Performance Report and Certificate of Completion after successful completion of the class.


Life on the Brown Campus

Join an Engaged Learning Community

To build a strong learning community, Leadership Institute students are housed together on campus in the same Brown University residence hall. Undergraduate students serve as both Classroom Assistants in the classroom and Resident Assistants in the Residence Hall, providing students with consistent and caring guidance throughout the program. Students eat their meals in Brown’s dining halls, and have access to Brown libraries, study centers, and The Brown Writing Center.

A Typical Day

7:30 - 9:00am Breakfast in a dining hall
9:00 – 11:30am Class
11:30am – 1:00pm Lunch in a dining hall
1:00 – 3:00pm Class
3:15 – 5:00pm Leadership workshops
Past summer’s topics include: Introduction to Leadership Styles; Exploring Identity and Privilege
5:00 – 6:00pm Free time for homework or co-curricular activities
6:00 – 7:30pm Dinner in a dining hall
7:30 – 10:00pm Free time for homework or co-curricular activities

Students will have 1-3 hours of homework each day

10:00pm Curfew

Closing Program - Families are encouraged to attend

We warmly welcome family and friends to attend the Closing Program for the Leadership Institute. This is an inspiring culmination to your student's experience, and a terrific opportunity to meet faculty, students and staff.

About the Program Director: Kisa Takesue

Director, Pre-College and Leadership Programs

Received her A.B. in American Studies, with a focus on Asian American Studies from Brown University, and her M.S.S.W. from the University of Austin-Texas. Prior to joining the Division of Pre-College and Summer Undergraduate Programs, she worked in Campus Life at Brown in several capacities including: Coordinator of the Third World Center (now named the Center for Students of Color); Director of Student Activities and the Stephen Robert ‘62 Campus Center; and Associate Dean of Orientation and Diversity Initiatives. During her tenure in Campus Life, her responsibilities included oversight and involvement in First Year Orientation, International Orientation and the International Mentoring Program, the Women Peer Counselors Program, the Resident Counselors Program, the Community Director Program, student conduct, crisis response, diversity initiatives, and student organizations. She oversees the Leadership Institute and provides support to Pre-College social science courses. She also worked as medical social worker and advocate for pregnant and parenting teenagers.

In this interview, Kisa Takesue talks about how students emerge from the Brown Leadership Institute with an increased sense of personal agency and commitment to their communities after gaining a greater understanding of what it means to be a socially responsible leader.


Interview with Kisa Takesue: Brown Leadership Institute »

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