About the Forum

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Missouri Governor's Student Leadership is different from other leadership programs in that it encourages students to be better individuals as well as leaders by challenging their decision-making, values and belief systems using the platform of servant leadership. More important than the compilation of the perfect resume and the attaining of degrees is the character developed in young men and women. At National Student Leadership, we believe that the most influential leaders of tomorrow will build their strength of character, build healthy relationships, and learn by the example of great leaders before them.


Since 1986, the Missouri Governor's Student Leadership Forum (#MissouriGSLF) has been convened by Missouri's Governor and other prominent community leaders and invites young people of diverse backgrounds and aspirations to put aside their differences and learn together how to better lead in their spheres of influence.  The central focus of the Missouri Governor's Student Leadership Forum is Jesus of Nazareth, the most influential and effective leader in Western civilization, as a model of servant leadership. His teachings are richly valuable in addressing issues of reconciliation, serving the poor, integrity, purpose, and love. We also consider the examples of many other historic leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, William Wilberforce, and Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as how today’s leaders are putting servant leadership into practice.

In regard to Jesus’ impact as a leader, consider the following:

  • 2000 years after he walked the dusty roads of Galilee, several billion people can recite major portions of his principle speech, the “Sermon on the Mount.”

  • Billions of people on all continents continue to study his words and seek to follow him.

  • Our calendar is dated from his birth, and major worldwide holidays like Christmas and Easter center on events in his life.

  • Jesus achieved tremendous global influence in only three years of public life.

  • His influence was accomplished without money or mass media, without writing any books, without holding an elected office, and without commanding an army. Yet his teachings transformed the world.

Our hope is to study these principles intensely and grapple with their meaning. By studying them, we aim to nurture leaders who understand the value of reconciling relationships, standing up for truth, and loving their neighbor as themselves. In a world where self-interest is the guiding current, we seek to illuminate a worldview that is others-centered, embracing altruism rather than egotism. We at the Missouri Governor's Student Leadership Forum hold that true change starts with first changing ourselves and then changing the world.