Congratulations to Our 2018 Global Citizen of the Year Award Winner & Finalists

ies abroad logo
IES Abroad
February 21, 2019

The next generation of young global citizens believes this is more than just the world—they believe it's our world. This is especially true of our students, who are passionate about contributing to their local communities abroad through service and an action-focused attitude toward social justice. 

The Global Citizen of the Year Award highlights these incredible students and the lasting impact they have on the world.

We're thrilled to announce that Breana Ross (IES Abroad Cape Town Customized Program | University of Miami) has been named our 2018 Global Citizen of the Year for her dedicated work with students from high-need townships in South Africa. She, along with the three Finalists, embody the best of global citizenship through their desire to not just explore the world, but to give back to it through purposeful action. 

Students who applied for this award represent 17 of our IES Abroad Centers worldwide. To apply, students submitted personal statements reflecting on how their experiences abroad demonstrate their global citizenship by answering the following questions:

  • How have you changed the world through study abroad?
  • How have the world and study abroad changed you?
  • How will you sustain or continue your impact?

Here's how to selection process works: A jury of over 30 IES Abroad staff from around the world reviewed all applications. The highest-scoring students became semi-finalists, whose applications were then reviewed by a smaller committee that selected the Winner and Finalists.

We are continuously amazed by how exceptional our students are. Read more about this year’s Global Citizen of the Year and the three finalists below, all of whom have already made—and will continue to make—their marks on the world.

Meet Our Winner & Finalists


Breana Ross | The Global Citizen of the Year 

IES Abroad Cape Town Customized Program | University of Miami

Hometown: Clinton, Maryland

Major: Broadcast Journalism & Political Science

“I think my experience abroad can be summed up with three main points: a passion for service brought me to South Africa, bridging my culture with others led me to have powerful experiences, and my thirst as a writer and storyteller allowed me to share those experiences with a global audience.” - Breana

Read More About Breana

“Breana set out to engage in the community when she studied abroad, and she eagerly learned from the students she interacted with. What I most appreciate about her story is how she has taken what she learned about the mutual exchange of learning in South Africa to reframe her community involvement back home in the United States. Breana is inspiring and definitely deserving of the Global Citizen of the Year award.”
• From the Jury

Idil Tanrisever

IES Abroad Buenos Aires | Lafayette College

Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey

Major: Economics

“Leaving my beautiful, wealthy neighborhood to go to deprecated neighborhoods and learn about the realities of Buenos Aires, developing relationships with the underprivileged people and listening to their stories, having conversations with my roommate about her internship – which was about underprivileged people’s living conditions – made me think more and more about environmental justice problems that exist in Argentina, in Turkey, in the world.” - Idil

Read More About Idil

Jeremy Marks

Jeremy Marks

IES Internships Cape Town and IES Abroad Shanghai & Beijing Customized Program | University of Iowa

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois

Major: Management

“While in China, I engaged and collaborated with local business professionals regarding company structures and operations as compared to the United States. Having the opportunity to exchange this in-person dialogue was an eye-opening experience on both ends and taught me the value of collaboration in facilitating new ideas for process improvement across cultures.” - Jeremy

Read More About Jeremy


Phoebe Forlenza

IES Abroad Milan | Barnard College - Columbia University

Hometown: Irvington, New York

Major: Political Science

“Service Learning was designed to provide moments like these – those that highlight your privilege, your obligations, and your duty as a Global Citizen to treat each human with humanity. My life ought not to be worth more than a migrant’s, and their needs and dreams do not come second to mine.” - Phoebe

Read More About Phoebe

Congratulations to our Winner Breana Ross and all of our Finalists!

IES Abroad News

Read More

IES Abroad regularly publishes news stories, articles, student stories, and other helpful study abroad content. Stay up to date on the latest from IES Abroad by reading our recent posts.

View All IES Abroad News