History

David French, Founder of Orbis Institute and Chairman of the Board of Directors, understood that meeting the challenges of the 21st century would require cross-cultural understanding and leadership development. David used his four decades of experience with business and non-profits to build an organization that would effectively realize his vision for globally minded leadership.

In 1996, the first programs began with the help of students from the University of Colorado at Boulder’s President’s Leadership Class (PLC). Together, students launched an innovative training program for globally minded young leaders called the Emerging Leaders Forum (ELF). In its pilot year, ELF brought together participants from ten countries including Slovakia, China, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, England, Israel, Russia, Germany, and the United States.

With ELF’s success, in 2002, the program evolved into World Camp, and Orbis became an independent 501(c)3. Over the years Orbis has conducted 8 World Camp programs in the US, China, and Central Europe.

Orbis currently focuses on three core age groups – high school, college and post-graduate participants. Each program utilizes Orbis’ own global leadership curriculum to foster awareness, critical thinking, and action. Designed to allow students to advance with each level, the graduated approach gives Orbis the opportunity to work with participants and follow them as they grow from students into global leaders.

Orbis Institute’s programs have impacted over 5,000 youth from 35 countries around the world:

Afghanistan, Canada, China, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, El Salvador, England, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Somalia, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Zimbabwe.

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