Leadership Institute

Transform your passion for social justice into action.

All over the world, youth are advocating for change both locally and globally. Through the Brown Leadership Institute — no matter your current level of engagement — you’ll increase your understanding of complex social issues and your ability to advance social justice.

There are two ways to participate in the Leadership Institute: 

  • 2-week on-campus sessions
  • 4-week online sessions

Through both methods of learning, you’ll meet students from all over the world who are passionate about a wide variety of issues, including topics such as social entrepreneurship, racial justice, law and social movements and gender equity. You will spend your days delving into compelling topics in a course of your choosing, actively engaging with your peers and instructor. As you grapple with complex problems and brainstorm possible solutions together, you will practice a collaborative model of leadership honing your skills in active listening, public speaking, problem-solving, conflict resolution and teamwork. Building on all of this new knowledge, you’ll develop an Action Plan you can take home and apply in your school or community. 

What to Study?

Select one course of study from an array of options, each focusing on current social issues and topics. Past courses have included:

  • Women and Leadership
  • More than a Game: Leadership and Social Change in Sports 
  • Leadership, Law and Social Movements
  • Leadership and Intercultural Communication
  • Leadership in Changing Business: Social Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership and Global Health



Program Snapshot


Students completing grades 10 to 12, ages 15 to 18 by June 18, 2023


Leadership will be practiced and explored through a variety of discussions and activities. You will also participate in workshops on public speaking, leadership styles, diversity and the Social Change Model of Leadership.

  • Explore the leadership challenges associated with complex social issues.
  • Identify and analyze the strengths and limitations of your current leadership style.
  • Strengthen your skills in public-speaking, listening and problem-solving.
  • Expand your ability to work in diverse groups.


Choose one of three sessions:

  • On Campus:
    • Sunday, June 25 to Friday, July 7, 2023
    • Sunday, July 16 to Friday, July 28, 2023
  • Online:
    • Monday, July 10 to Friday, August 4, 2023


  • 2-week residential program at the Brown University campus in Providence, Rhode Island 
  • 4-week online program through Canvas, Brown’s Learning Management System from wherever you are


  • Join a community of students who care about social change.
  • Cultivate socially responsible leadership and develop a meaningful Action Plan.
  • Delve into thought-provoking and relevant academic content in the course of your choosing.
  • Gain guidance, insight and empowerment to address critical issues in meaningful and sustainable ways.
  • Concentrate on learning without the pressure of formal grades.
  • Receive a Course Performance Report and Certificate of Completion when you successfully finish.


Though your time outside of class and scheduled Leadership Workshops is yours to manage, you will be housed on campus, in Brown University residence halls with other Leadership Institute students to build a strong learning community. Students living on campus eat their meals in Brown’s dining halls and have access to the University’s libraries, study centers and Writing Center. Although your time will be limited, you’ll also have the opportunity to engage with other pre-college students in a range of activities that help you grow as a person. See Life on the Brown Campus for more information.

A Typical Day

7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Breakfast in the dining hall
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Class and Leadership Workshops*
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Lunch in a dining hall
12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Class and Leadership Workshops*
3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Free time for homework or co-curricular activities
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dinner in a dining hall
7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Free time for homework or co-curricular activities. Students will have 1-3 hours of homework each day.
10 p.m. Curfew

*Past summer topics include: Introduction to Leadership Styles, Exploring Identity and Privilege

Participating in the Leadership Institute online will include asynchronous content and twice-weekly required synchronous workshops with classmates and one-on-one meetings with your instructor and optional webinars with guest speakers. In these “blended” and online course components, you have the opportunity to further enhance your leadership skills, explore socially responsible leadership and work to develop a meaningful Action Plan. Studying online gives you the freedom to decide how and where you learn and entrusts you with the responsibility to manage your out-of-class work. With time to reflect, read and write, you can enhance important critical thinking skills. You also have the opportunity to strengthen your capacity for self-discipline and personal responsibility; skills necessary to excel in all learning environments. By taking an online class you also become more comfortable with online learning — a format that is becoming increasingly important both in and out of school. 

A Typical Day

Plan to spend a couple of hours each day (about 15-20 hours per week) on a variety of activities related directly to the course you are taking. Most days will include independent reading, engaging in written discussions sessions with classmates, listening to a guest lecturer or a video from your instructor and working on your Action Plan. Twice a week your classmates will come together for synchronous workshops. You will also meet virtually with instructors for one-on-one support and throughout the course engage with students in a community of learners all committed to effecting positive change in their communities and in the world.  

And outside of class, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with pre-college students participating in other programs in a range of activities that help you grow as a student and as a person. See Your Virtual Community for more information.

Program Director