Founder and Executive Director
Peyton Klein is a Junior at Taylor Allderdice High School. As a globally competent student, Peyton has been concerned with social, political, economic and environmental challenges from an early age. Peyton is the founder of The Global Minds Initiative, a student-led movement to combat cultural intolerance and discrimination in schools internationally. The Global Minds Initiative is an after school program that bridges English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) and Native English Speaking (NES) students. It serves as an educational support system for ESL students, while exposing and educating NES students about other cultures, inspiring globally competent students, bridging the gap between the classroom and the world. Since 2016, the Global Minds Initiative has expanded into 15 school, 7 states, and 2 countries impacting over 1,000 students. Peyton is a Youth Advisory Committee member for Pittsburgh Cares, a HERLead Fellow through Vital Voices, and is an active volunteer with PRYSE Academy, supporting summer programming for refugee students. Peyton has been recently appointed to Mayor Peduto’s Welcoming Pittsburgh Steering Committee, working on youth engagement initiatives across the city. Peyton is a TEDx speaker, the recipient of the 2017 YWCA Racial Justice Award in Youth Achievement, the Power of Children Award, Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award and the Coro Innovation Leadership Award. Peyton’s work has been featured on the Today Show, Fox News, in Teen Vogue, and the New York Times.
Suad Yusuf is dedicated to human rights, youth empowerment, and local and international development. After graduating high school in 2010, she worked as a camp counselor for Pittsburgh Public Schools summer dreamer program. She started a local chapter of Amnesty International at Chatham University. She also studied abroad in Gambia, where she volunteered for the Nova Scotia Gambia Association to develop malaria prevention resources.
This passion to bridge the local community level engagement and global development led Suad to pursue a dual Masters’ degree in Social Work and International Development. As a result, she’s also interned with the Global Switchboard and Allegheny County Department of Human Services to understand the work of globally minded agencies, and to gain skills in nonprofit management. In 2017, Suad became a graduate fellow with the African Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh. In this role, she researched and studied issues related to Africa, and assisted with preparing high school students for Model African Union simulations. She promoted the African Studies certificate at different events, and worked with the outreach coordinator to develop strategies to foster understanding of Africa.
After completing her graduate program, she traveled to Somaliland to teach at Abaarso School of Science and Technology. As a teacher, she designed lessons for 7-9thgrade students. She also developed activities for a social justice club and planned a history fair. Her experience as an educator exposed her to teaching and understanding the needs of English Language learners. Her goal is encourage global citizenship through positive youth development.
Zoe Vongtau is an 18-year-old student activist and freshman at NYU. For all her four years in high school and earlier, Zoe has expressed and pursued an interest in advocacy and activism. She currently serves on the Leadership Council of GirlGov as the Co-Chair of the racial justice committee and is the President of the Global Minds Initiative chapter she founded at her high school. She has partnered with varying Pittsburgh based organizations and schools including Repair the World, Heart of Love Foundation, The University of Pittsburgh and the Global Minds Initiative. She pursues her activism on and off the streets, organizing and writing in support of marginalized groups, especially immigrant students of color.
Alexis hopes to study abroad in Cuba as an undergrad and facilitate her own research project through Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) in a Latin American country. Global Minds has profoundly affected her perspective to make a huge impact on a local level, and loves seeing her hard work and planning pay off for the kids.
Mina’s passion is teaching. She volunteered teaching in Kenya during the summer of 2006 and taught geophysics to low-income rural teens in West Virginia during the summers of 2007 and 2008. She also studied abroad in Joensuu, Finland, focusing on comparative education.
After gaining three years of experience in teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students in College Park, Maryland, and Huntington, West Virginia, she was selected as a U.S. Department of State English Language Fellow to work in the Negev Desert, Israel/Palestine. As an English Language Fellow, she lived among and worked collaboratively with females in Bedouin communities to present teacher workshops and create and implement educational and conflict-resolution projects. In 2013, she helped to open St. Paul International School in Busan, South Korea; she also served as the English as a Second Language Specialist and as a classroom teacher at the school.
Mina began doctoral studies at the University of Pittsburgh in 2014 to pursue a PhD in education with a specialization in social and comparative analysis in education. She is also earning certificates in Arabic and Global Studies with a global concentration in conflict and conflict resolution through the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship funded by the U.S. Department of State. She currently teaches courses for international students at Chatham University through the Office of International Affairs.
Mina’s overall aspirations in the field of education are (1) to design, coordinate and implement educational and peace-negotiation projects that foster access, empowerment, and equity for students, their families, and their communities; (2) to conduct research centered on issues of access and empowerment for individuals in or from conflict and post-conflict areas; and (3) to articulate the political and educational implications of social and educational injustices in order to impact policy and reform.
It is her aim that, through critical and creative bridge-building, the vision of a peaceful, increasingly united world in which movements for justice—both educational and social—may flourish and become more prevalent.