The Academy


The Academy is a 3-month, intensive, residential program geared towards the highest-potential young Latin Americans who are committed to solving the biggest problems that face the region. This highly selective program will gather young Latin American scholars and world-class educators in the up-and-coming city of Medellín, Colombia from August 30th to November 26th, 2021. In addition to the in person program, this season of the Academy will also consist of a Pre-Academy Leadership Fellowship, from September 2020 to August 2021, which is a virtual afterschool program that aims to support students in preparing themselves emotionally, academically, and financially for the in-person Academy in Medellin. 

Our Methodology: The Program Pillars

The Academy centers on three pillars: Leadership & Social Innovation, Academic Readiness, Social-emotional Growth. The residential experience ensures that you will develop deep bonds with your fellow Academy attendees and strengthen your Latin American network.

Leadership & Social Impact

The Academy curriculum centers on a core course, Leadership and Social Innovation (LASI). This course aims to provide students space to further explore their identity as leaders, work on projects that they care about, and build community with their fellow scholars. LASI features sessions on systems thinking, community organizing, self-knowledge and development, public narrative, storytelling, as well as thought leadership and idea generation. This Bootcamp-esque course centers self-discovery and collaboration. Students will engage with a series of guest speakers and have the chance to continue learning from mission-driven leaders throughout the local community as well as the larger Latin American Region. The course will culminate in a student-driven project, which students will design together throughout the course of the semester.


To prepare our scholars academically, The Academy offers students a focused selection of seminar courses, giving students the opportunity to explore pressing Latin American matters from a range of academic fields. In the past, our seminar course offering has included courses like Latin American Literature, Data-Analytic Thinking in Latin America, Re-shaping History: Exploring Unwritten Narratives in Latin America and Current Events: Stories That Move the World. Additionally, each student will attend a bi-weekly Writing Lab, a course with the sole focus of supporting students as they develop skill in written expression. The seminars are designed to interact with each other, and students are not just permitted, but strongly encouraged to bring in their life perspectives to build the rich community of learning that the Academy seeks. Each course features highlights like guest speakers, community visits, in-class debates, presentations, and integrated group projects. At the Academy, we believe that education is not something that is passed on from one individual to another, but rather created through concerted collective effort. Students can expect to learn from their peers just as much as they learn from their educators, and to contribute their unique contribution through a plethora of pedagogical tools and tactics. 

Social-emotional growth

At LALA we believe deeply in the power of understanding oneself and one’s relations with others. Because of this, social-emotional learning is a central feature of all of our programs, including the Academy. To promote the development of both interpersonal as well as intrapersonal skills, the Academy offers a set of extracurricular features, giving students the opportunity to process their growth in a variety of environments. 

1. The Mentorship Program: Throughout the duration of the Academy, each student will have regular check-ins with a small group of other students and one staff member. The purpose of these mentorship groups is to allow students to express anything that may be alive for them at the moment. Whether it be directly related to LALA, their communities, their futures, or more, this intimate space aims to provide students the opportunity to hold their reflections and emotions with the support of others in the community. 


2. The Internship Program: Each Academy student will be placed in an internship based on their interests and desired skills. In the past, internships have run the gamut from helping to collect and synthesize data for LALA’s external relations to creating a digital record of each student's Academy journey. Internships will be managed by LALA staff members. They aim to further aid students in their leadership paths, helping them strengthen skills like group work, public speaking, data synthesis, writing, and more.


3. The Kitchen Lab: Just as LALA values students’ ability to nourish their minds and their hearts, we also believe it is important for students to understand what it means to nourish their bodies. To this aim, dinners at the Academy are prepared by students! Each student will be divided into a smaller family group and, with the guidance of a group of local cooking experts, they will each have the chance to prepare dinner for the whole group once a week. 


In our students, we look for potential, passion, and a desire to make a positive difference in the world. We look for students who are excited to embark on a journey of self-discovery and become the leaders of tomorrow.

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