By Jake Mazanke
Loyola University Chicago hosted the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership (HOBY) World Leadership Congress July 23-30.
The program brings 405 students, from 16 different countries to the Lake Shore Campus for a week of leadership training and exercises that is largely based on community service.
HOBY was established in 1958 by Hugh O’Brien and since then has runs multiple conferences and seminars each year. Currently, HOBY has over 9,000 high school students that attend their seminars each year.
“We try to inspire young people to learn leadership skills doing activities that they are passionate about,” said HOBY Chief Executive Officer, Javier La Fianza. “We want them to take these skills to their schools, their community and the world and teach them that leadership is not in the title but rather, in doing something.”
During the week students traveled to Humboldt park to clean up and mulch the area. According to the Chicago Park District, it was the largest student service project ever in a Chicago Park.
HOBY students also participated in the Feeding Children Everywhere Initiative and packed 89,000 meals for the Chicago Public Schools free meal program.
“We just hope that HOBY inspires them to believe more, do more and act more than they previously thought possible,” said La Fianza.
Among the international students to attend the World Leadership Conference was a group of ten students from Turkey. Students entered the program only eight days after the failed military coup within their country.
HOBY Chief International Programs Officer, Cheryl Brennan is impressed with the determination of the students to attend the program even such an event.
“Can you imagine that?” said Brennan. “It is just amazing that this program is still important enough for them to come here.”
These students from Turkey will join the more than 40,000 alumni that have gone through the program. HOBY will hold similar seminars throughout the year for local and international students.