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Listen. Think. Act.

The mission of the Global Livingston Institute is to educate students & community leaders on innovative approaches to international development and empower awareness, collaboration, conversations and personal growth. 

GLI is dedicated to improving communities globally. Every year nearly 300 students and community leaders join us in East Africa for a series of immersion experiences focused on education and job creation. While traveling with the GLI, the focus is not to fix Africa but to listen and think about the experiences that you are having with the people you meet and the communities you visit.


Spend time getting to know the people who live and work in the communities where you travel and engage in a rich dialogue with business leaders, NGO leaders, government leaders, artists, educators, small business owners, and community members in Uganda and Rwanda about what it means to impact positive change. What does it really mean to build a partnership with the people of East Africa?

Our Vision in Action

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of High School Students Received Scholarships

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Tested for HIV

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Scholars & Community Leaders Engaged in Colorado

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Immersion Trips

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Ugandans Employed

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People Attended GLI Music Festivals

our vision is global.

Our goal at the GLI is to individualize your experiences and make your time in Uganda and Rwanda transformational and life changing! We want you to build your outcomes not before you leave but based on your experiences when you are there.

You will spend time in the slums of Kampala and with former child soldiers in Lira; you will meet with the medical teams at the jungle clinic in Lira and Mulago Hospital in Kampala. And with each person you meet and each experience you have and each conversation that takes place, what do you do with what you learn? How will your conversations and your dialogues in Uganda and Rwanda define the approach you take to your work either in East Africa or whichever part of the world to which you return. After you listen and think we want to turn you loose and see what you come up with to impact positive change in your corner of the world!

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Social Impact 

Alongside our passion for education, we believe that job creation is what is going to move people out of poverty and into sustainable living conditions.

That is why we have aligned our organization with social impact initiatives in East Africa, and with each student and community leader that travels with us… these social impact initiatives are growing! What ideas will you bring to the table?

To operate our programs in Uganda and Rwanda, we have activated two campuses: our Kampala Campus and the Entusi Resort and Retreat Center in Kabale. These campuses employ 20 Ugandans full-time. When you provide someone with a job and an income, a lot changes! When people have money that they can invest in education or health care, they are empowered to make their own decisions about how to care for their families and advance their careers.

Over the years, the GLI has provided employment opportunities to hundreds of Ugandans through our various programming opportunities from our student trips to our music festivals.

More than 150 Ugandans were involved in the construction of Entusi. And this is just the beginning! We are motivated by our mission and vision to support job creation, provide job- training skills, and invest in the enormous potential in Uganda and Rwanda. And we are looking for smart, innovative and globally minded students and community leaders to help us lead the way! 

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Concert Series

Our concerts, set in urban and rural locations, directly invest tens of thousands of dollars into local economies. Since 2014 our concerts had a combined economic impact of over $4.1 million in East Africa.


Our Academic Partners

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Our Story

 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.

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.

In the Press