Global Youth Climate Summit - A Collaboration with Stanford Center for Deliberative Democracy Starts July 12
Critical Skills

Critical Skills

Critical Skills for Global Leaders of the 21st Century

The 21st century is placing new skills in higher demand compared to the past. This increasingly global and digital world requires interpersonal, analytical, and emotional skills to thrive and do fulfilling work. Below are the critical skills that Rustic Pathways programs are intentionally designed to foster and develop through our expertise and experience.

Analytical Thinking and Innovation

Analytical thinkers see information and problems from many different angles and can thrive with multi-dimensional challenges. They are skilled at synthesizing and conceptualizing knowledge, and organizing information. These skills empower them to make thoughtful and effective decisions while tackling complex, real-world problems.



Active Learning

Increasing connectivity around the world means that their are a wealth of resources at our fingertips if we’re willing to ask the right people. Active learners seek out new ideas and perspectives that challenge their assumptions and help them drive towards effective solutions.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Students need to build their capacity to think proactively towards solving problems in an increasingly complex world. Practicing solving these kinds of real world challenges builds the capacity to take initiative, take risks, and make mistakes while growing and improving throughout the process.



Students need to be able to think and work creatively to create unique and effective solutions. Much of their world is geared toward consuming information, which requires skill to convert that wealth of information into creative action.

community service in the Dominican Republic

Ethics and Service Orientation

The 21st century calls for students with a mindset that values empathy, helpfulness, and caring for others. Leaders will be respectful of different cultures and belief systems, and geared towards creating a better world for everyone.


Students will need to grow their capacity to work productively and effectively with peers. Large, systemic challenges will require the involvement and engagement of varied actors and experts in order to create the best possible outcomes.


Leadership and the skills of great leaders has evolved significantly in the last few years. Students who understand how to empower others, and to create teams that can achieve great things will be uniquely placed to succeed.

Resilience and Flexibility

Weathering 2020 was a challenge unlike anything in the recent past for this generation of students. Building the strengths developed over this past year will help them continue to thrive as the complexity of global challenges increases and the become adept at turning failures into the stepping stones to success.

Learn Critical Skills in Rustic Pathways' Learning Lab

Top professors from top schools teach topics that matter with a Rustic Pathways twist. Relevant, high quality learning that will help you change lives and make an impact on the world.