The Global Livingston Institute (GLI) is named after Johnston R. Livingston, a visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist from Colorado. Jamie Van Leeuwen founded the GLI in 2009 after traveling to Uganda and Rwanda as part of the Livingston Fellowship he received from Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. During his travels, he became aware of the many people and NGOs taking actions in East Africa without truly understanding the needs of the community. He identified the need for people to do more listening and thinking before acting. Ultimately, the idea was to get students and community leaders to rethink the approach we take to international development. Since 2009, the GLI has been engaging students and community leaders in the United States and East Africa to Listen. Think. Act.
What began as a nascent Denver non-profit has grown beyond metropolitan boundaries. Inspired by a vibrant and engaged Denver base, the GLI continues to engage past travelers not just from all corners of Colorado, but from across the United States and throughout the world.
As we grow, we are continually humbled by our supporters and are excited about what the future will hold. When we took our first group of students to Uganda and Rwanda in 2009, we could have never imagined that we would host hundreds of travelers, partner with the people of Kabale, Uganda to form a unique hybrid of job creation, education, and community development at the Entusi Resort and Retreat Center on Lake Bunyonyi, or host the largest free music festival in East Africa.
But we continue to be inspired by the idea that if we bring the right people to the table, work collaboratively, and think big and differently, we can shift the dialogue surrounding international development and create lasting positive change to communities both at home and abroad.