About Us

Learn more about Learning AFAR and the GLA International Foundation

About the GLA International Foundation

The mission of Global Leadership Adventures International Foundation is to support grassroots organizations engaged in meaningful community or conservation projects overseas, and to make grants available to students of diverse backgrounds to participate in Global Leadership Adventures service-learning programs abroad.

GLAIF came to fruition at the request of Global Leadership Adventures’ program alumni. Returning from international service-learning programs, these teens were determined to find a way to continue to make change in communities around the globe by supporting locally driven projects from afar.

Additionally, the foundation helps provide access to travel experiences for students from underserved communities who may not have the financial means to travel through need-based grants.

About Learning AFAR

Learning AFAR was founded in 2008, and has since helped to send over 1,300 students abroad who would otherwise not have the funds or administrative support to do so.

Students traveling through Learning AFAR have had life-changing experiences in the United States and around the globe, including in countries such as Ghana, Costa Rica, Belize, Peru and China.

Learning AFAR has seen firsthand how young people who experience global travel come back home to their communities with an deeper, wider view of their place in the world. And AFAR is committed to making sure many more young people have this same opportunity.

Learning AFAR + GLA International Foundation

AFAR Media and the Global Leadership Adventures International Foundation began their partnership in 2022.

Our first shared program together is to support Son of a Saint, an organization based in New Orleans, to travel to Ghana.

Students from Son of a Saint all lost their fathers to incarceration or death, and this kind of travel program experience to West Africa can be a tremendously impactful step on their future life and career paths as a result.

We are collaborating together to support organizations like Son of a Saint and others to make sure students can experience different cultures and gain new insights into their own lives and communities.

With Learning AFAR’s thoughtful leadership and GLAIF’s extensive program and planning experience, we are thrilled at what the future will hold for our shared partnership!

A Meaningful Impact from the Start

The journey of Global Leadership Adventures is rooted in extraordinary impact.

GLA Founder Fred Swaniker, a Ghana native, TED fellow and entrepreneur from Stanford University, dreamed of building a high school in Africa intentionally designed to grow the continent’s future leaders, no matter the student’s income or country of origin. Fred knew that the key to individual and community success was not leading young people along a set path, but allowing them to define their own path.

After joining forces with Peter Mombaur and Chris Bradford, Fred’s dream was brought to life with the development of the African Leadership Academy, a transforational pan-African, non-profit high school in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Academy’s success was immediate and profound. With a diverse group of peers from across the African continent, students were immersed in leadership development and began to truly believe they held the power to change the world around them.

As a way to expand the reach of ALA’s successful curriculum, Fred, Peter and Chris designed and built a summer program, this time welcoming students from around the world. This was the seed that eventually grew into Global Leadership Adventures.

GLA built a global team of experts in 2006 with the hiring of Andrew Motiwalla, who joined the team as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, as well as a background in operating global service-learning projects and developing experiential education programs. Values central to the Peace Corps – immersive experience, sustainability and working side-by- side with local communities – were infused into GLA’s program design early on. They continue to be the building blocks for its many programs that run around the world each spring and summer.

In recognition of his incredible achievements, Fred Swaniker was named a 2019 AFAR Vanguard honoree, and he was also honored by Time Magazine as one of its 100 Most Influential People of 2019.