The next Global Scholars Symposium (GSS) will be held at Cambridge University in May 2019. The annual student-run symposium aims to generate dialogue between prominent world leaders and emerging scholars. It is an opportunity for postgraduate students pursuing degrees in the United Kingdom – including Churchill, Chevening, Clarendon, Commonwealth, Gates, Fulbright, Marshall, Rhodes, and Weidenfeld scholars – to learn from current world leaders about how to meet the great challenges of global society.

GSS provides opportunities for delegates and speakers to engage in discussions on global issues, present and future, and reflect on the role of leadership in addressing them. We hope that the stimulating programme of talks, workshops and networking activities will serve as a stepping stone for such reflections to flourish across institutions, scholarships, and disciplines.


The Global Scholars Symposium brings together scholars to collaborate on current research, envision the future of their fields, and bridge disciplinary boundaries to create new paths of innovation. The GSS allows current world leaders to interact with young academics who are striving to meet the great challenges of global society.


The mission of the Global Scholars Symposium is to:

  • Connect – to form lasting relationships that span the globe
  • Inspire – to join passion and enthusiasm of new scholars with experience and insight of world leaders, in order to motivate action in the world
  • Challenge – to shift perspectives through conversations that bridge disciplines and generations

The Global Scholars Action Network, a community drawn from GSS participants and their supporting scholarship bodies, supports this mission beyond the four days of the conference.


Extraordinary participants – Some of the world’s most accomplished and promising scholars connect with remarkable global leaders in focused setting.

Cross-disciplinary approach – Scholars and global leaders with a unique collective of passions and expertise generate an environment of creative ideas and novel discourse.

Dynamic discussions – A variety of formats for small group sessions enable more creative, honest and  insightful exploration of issues.


GSS was founded in 2008 by Gates Scholars at the University of Cambridge. Its purpose was to connect international scholars studying in the UK to share their wide variety of interests and expertise. Since then, and with the financial support of the McCall MacBain Foundation, GSS has expanded to include scholars from 51 countries across 9 different scholarship schemes in the UK. The 2017 symposium will build on this legacy of partnership and is being jointly coordinated by scholars from across these programs.

GSS in Previous Years