Congratulations to our 2019 Global Citizen of the Year and Finalists

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IES Abroad

Future Gen Z leaders are diverse, passionate, and poised to become one of the most action-focused generations for cross-culture understanding, global inclusivity and social justice. Many of IES Abroad’s students—93 percent of whom find employment within six months of graduation, among other career benefits—prepare themselves for global leadership roles through their experiences abroad.

Enter our incredible Global Citizen of the Year Awardees.

The Global Citizen of the Year award highlights the extraordinary efforts of those individuals and the lasting impact they have on the world. We were incredibly impressed by this year’s applicants, and can’t wait for you to meet them!


The 2019 Global Citizen of the Year

We're thrilled to announce that Yazmin Baptiste (IES Abroad Rabat, Fall 2018 & IES Abroad Rome, Spring 2019 | Lafayette College) has been named our 2019 Global Citizen of the Year for her dedicated support to refugee and immigrant communities in Rabat, as well as through her volunteering and independent research in Rome. She, along with the three Finalists, embody the best of global leadership through their desire to not just explore the world, but to give back to it through purposeful action.

What stood out about Yazmin's application was her multi-layered approach to advocacy and research throughout her time abroad and her continued commitment when she returned home. During her time in Rabat she taught English to immigrant and refugee communities through the Foundation Orient-Occident. When she was in Rome she engaged in volunteer work at Hands Off Cain, where she assisted the organization in their goal of ending the death penalty worldwide. She also conducted independent research into the negative impact that for-profit companies in Italy have on immigration.

Her understanding of immigration beyond a U.S. context further emphasizes her dedication to her efforts. Additionally, she is currently working on a “mental health invisible tour” on her campus, to bring together narratives of how mental health is uniquely experienced on her campus. This concept came from an “invisible tour” Baptiste took in Rome, and she hopes to launch it soon.

The Selection Process

Students who applied for this award represent 18 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?

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 Global Citizen of the Year 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 and Finalists


Yazmin Baptiste | Global Citizen of the Year

IES Abroad Rabat & IES Abroad Rome | Lafayette College

Hometown: Queens, New York

Majors: Anthropology & Sociology

Minor: Religious Studies

“Volunteering is complicated. It can be good one day. It could be bad the next. It could be iffy in the middle. And I think having a strong sense of accountability for what you do in the world is important and to have patience with others and yourself to think through the ways that we can improve our future and to work through the challenges that we're facing today.”

Read More About Yazmin

“Throughout my time abroad I came to understand that through work in our local communities we can cause ripple effects that can have an impact globally.”
Yazmin Baptiste • Global Citizen of the Year 2019

Sam Hochberger | Finalist

IES Abroad Granada | Macalester College

Hometown: Maple Grove, Minnesota

Major: Neuroscience

Minors: Spanish, Psychology

"Overall, the importance of continuing the fight for human rights for all humans was the most significant lesson I learned while abroad."

Read More About Sam


Sara Jacques | Finalist

IES Abroad Santiago | Penn State University

Hometown: Kearny, New Jersey

Majors: Public Relations, African American Studies

Minors: Spanish, Global & International Studies

"Despite our individualist culture, the reality is that the world is incredibly interconnected. Our waste patterns, economic choices, and social norms all have a wide-ranging effect, and it’s a privilege to live in a bubble that U.S. culture, to a certain extent, promotes. My experience abroad made me much more critical of social, and cultural norms."

Read More About Sara


Pheonix Pittman | Finalist

IES Abroad Buenos Aires | Spelman College

Hometowm: Boerne, Texas

Majors: International Studies, Spanish

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"Instead of arriving to serve someone with an agenda for what I want to do for them, I’ll first ask them what they want so that I can use my skills in the way that is most impactful to their life, rather than my personal pursuits."

Read More About Pheonix

Congratulations to our Winner Yazmin Baptiste and all of our Finalists!

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