Getting off the conveyor belt: Immersing students in cultures overseas

Abigail Falik
San Francisco, CA

Education International Affairs


Abigail Falik
Global Citizen Year
Abigail Falik is a social innovator and recognized expert in the fields of global citizenship education, youth development, and international exchange. She has over 12 years of experience developing new business models at the intersection of education and international development.
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Contact Information:
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
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Abigail is the founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year (, a non-profit social venture which is building a movement of young Americans who engage in a transformative global "bridge year" before college.

Abigail has dedicated her professional life to creating new opportunities for young Americans to learn about the world. Through work as an educator across the US and throughout the developing world, Abigail developed a passion for using education to promote global social justice and poverty alleviation.

Her vision for Global Citizen Year grew from over 10 years of experience in education, international development and social enterprise. She spent four years at NetAid where she designed and launched a program which empowers high school students to mobilize their peers in efforts to end global poverty. Today, the program is a flagship initiative of Mercy Corps. A recognized expert in Global Citizenship Education, Abigail has served as a strategic advisor and consultant, and has published in leading journals.

For her work founding Global Citizen Year, in 2009 she was awarded the Draper Richards Fellowship for entrepreneurs who are using innovative solutions to create significant social change. She is also a recipient of the Mind Trust Fellowship for education entrepreneurs who are developing system-changing strategies to tackle education’s greatest challenges. In 2008 she was named a Rainer Arnhold Fellow and a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow.

Abigail is an alumnus of the 2010 American Express Leadership Academy. Created in partnership with the Aspen Institute, the American Express Leadership Academy is a week-long program designed to develop the next generation of high potential leaders in the nonprofit sector. The Academy immerses participants in a series of leadership training and development courses, supplemented with sessions that are led by American Express’ senior executives. Through the Academy, participants polish the personal, business and leadership skills needed to run a successful nonprofit enterprise in today's complex economic climate.

Abigail holds a B.A. and M.Ed. from Stanford University, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Story Pitch

College Can Wait
Bay Area organization makes bold commitment to send 1,000 young Americans abroad before college to gain a global perspective on themselves, their country, and the world.
Recent Publications/Appearances


2/ 10/ 2012 Harvard Business Review "Program Aims to Develop a Generation of Global Citizens"

July 25, 2011 Forbes "Global Citizen Year Creates Social Enterprise Leaders"

April 11, 20011 Christian Science Monitor "Abigail Falik wants students to take a year off doing good abroad"

Jan 19, 2011 The Huffington Post "In International Volunteerism, Structure Pays"

March 11, 2010 The New York Times "Teach for the World"


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