NHI welcomes students and families to GDx Global Kickoff on Sunday
This coming Sunday, March 7, at 6 pm CT, the first group of 2021 GDx participants and their families are invited to participate in NHI’s GDx Global Kickoff.
In the summer of 2020, NHI evolved its first-year experience, the Great Debate, into GDx, an online version of the original communications-focused leadership program. Last summer, a number of NHI’s Alliances (the local community organizations that help students connect to NHI headquarters) mobilized teams of students who participated in a series of debates and verbal presentations.
GDx participants, in addition to working on public presentation skills like the Great Debaters before them, learned to enhance their verbal presentations with video and digital technologies proving to be essential in an era shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This Kickoff is not only a beginning to the GDx, but a launch into our century’s third decade,” said NHI Senior Vice President Julio Cotto, who will serve as MC for the event. “Amidst a pandemic and other challenges we’ve been given, this moment in time also presents us with an open door to create, innovate, evolve, and shape new landscapes.”
“GDx is its own experience,” he explained. “It’s more of a cousin of the GDx than a sibling because it was created in and for the 21st century. Even as 2022 and 2023 look to be ‘open,’ there will be an increased need for leaders who can mobilize and communicate to their local community and also communicate globally. Our future communities will benefit from leaders from the class of 2021 with the networks, the capacities, and the skills to move people, regardless of where they are standing and where they’re being heard.”
More on the GDx Kickoff
The GDx Kickoff will be an opportunity for 2021 participants to learn about the expectations NHI has of them as future leaders. NHI students are selected not simply for their academic achievement but, perhaps more significantly, for the vast human potential they represent to future generations.
Through the Kickoff, students will also come to understand the long-term leadership and personal development journey that begins with GDx and extends well into an alumni’s adult years. Through GDx, students will invest their time in refining and amplifying their communications skills and capacities. GDx is also the first year for students to start building powerful human networks and growing their NHI community. Students will hear from a selection of Project Administrators, 2020 GDx participants, current GDx coaches, and the NHI founders.
The Kickoff also gives students an opportunity to conference with NHI co-founders Ernesto Nieto and Gloria de Leon, who traditionally provide students with historical perspectives as well as their latest insights on NHI’s present and future.
What’s Next: When Latin American Students Start, What Summer Holds
NHI students based in Latin America will start their 2021 journey until April 15 and invited to attend the Kickoff event as the GDx debates this summer will involve teams from across all NHI communities. In May, an additional Kickoff event will be held for teams that form later in the process as well as for expansion communities that are taking shape now.
Come June, all Alliance teams will be fine-tuning their performances and getting ready to compete and exchange ideas across borders. Unlike the 2020 GDx, all tournaments this year will include teams from throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Discord: Now Open For Connection
The Kickoff isn’t the only way that NHI is keeping participants connected prior to the summer launch. NHI’s communication platform on Discord is now open to students who wish to communicate with NHI program staff as well as with each other.
Discord, which NHI students used to connect, network, and build friendships with each other last summer, is a versatile communication tool initially oriented to gamers but similar in functionality to Slack and Teams — tools that becoming indispensable to a number of companies and organizations seeking to connect teams across geographic divides.
Discord allows for real-time communication where members can engage, but by housing those conversations in various rooms organized by topic, users can read prior conversations they missed and enter where they left off.
“Often you hear about the conversations, the jokes, the laughs, the reflection that happens in the hallways, dining centers, and outdoor spaces across campuses,” Cotto noted. “Sometimes, it is those out of the room experiences off the schedule where relationships are cemented and growth is realized. I still remember standing in a hallway at the LDZ or seeing students coach themselves up at the Great Debate. Discord is the space where that preparation happens now.”
“Discord is the online student center where you can share music, memes, encouragement, tips, celebrate, video chat, tag, and newsboard,” he added. “At GDx, while you wait between rounds, you will be able to keep up with your team or mingle with fellow competitors all on Discord.”
Cotto also noted that NHI’s opened up Discord for 2021 participants in February, and as a result, “Students are already making connections and some are even working to prepare fully for when the games begin. I am glad Chris Nieto and others on our team were able to introduce this component to the technological elements of GDx. Discord will be a feature for all NHI programs and organizing NHI communities going forward, not just the ones that live fully online!”
Spring Training Now Open: Get in (Mental) Shape for Summer
Even before the pandemic began, NHI was at work on an online, preconference learning component for all its programs. Its intent was to utilize digital platforms to share vital information to help prepare students for their summer programs well before they started.
Through Moodle, NHI created an online classroom via Moodle, providing new and returning NHI members with resources, short self-guided courses, and introductory content designed to prepare NHI learners for gaming in the GDx, LDZ/LDZx, and CWSx worlds.
Students begin their Spring Training program by tackling the I AM NHI Fundamentals and Code of Ethics. NHI will also be adding an updated series of talks and interviews with Nieto and Cotto discussing core themes and questions of the required text, Third Reality: Crafting a 21st Century Latino Agenda. The combination of Spring Training and locally-based GDx Alliance learning sessions prepares GDx participants, who are far more ahead in their understanding of NHI concepts, theory, and practices prior to their first round of competition than students who don’t do Spring Training.
Currently-enrolled NHI students should have the link to the GDx Kickoff via email, or it will be available via Discord. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding Discord or Spring Training.
The 2021 GDx Programs are sponsored in part by State Farm.