LCM History

Our History

2007 – 2008
(First Year Pilot)

In the fall of 2007, while working at The Nueva School, Catarina launched the first Model UN program at Nueva, taking place initially as an informal academy.  Catarina recruited a friend, and a Nueva teacher to join her in this initial endeavor.  She then gave up 8 months of weekends and began working with a highly motivated group of 8 initial Nueva students.  Catarina went on to single-handedly organize all the logistics, secure the funding, and gain permission from the Head of School to take 8 Nueva students to the Netherlands for almost one month!

Eight founding delegates formed this first delegation that traveled to Haarlem, The Netherlands, in March of 2008. This initial Model UN conference and life-changing experience the delegation had living on a dairy farm in Waterland is one that will never be forgotten.  

In the summer of 2008, founding delegate Nishad Singh emailed Catarina wondering how the program would continue, and offered his words of courage, support, and confidence. This particular delegate was 12 years old at the time, but it was enough for Catarina to understand that the seed that had been planted had kept growing on its own.  As a young international lawyer, Catarina (along with a co-founder and Fellows) set aside her profession of law to create a high quality education program.  The natural enthusiasm from the original founding delegates is precisely what propelled the development and creation of the League from its inception.

Catarina, along with the support of many wonderful parents, friends, and teachers, was able to make this leap from an informal academy at one school (Nueva) to what would become the League of Creative Minds.  In this new setting, the top 5% of students from a variety of schools in the Greater Bay Area (including students as far away as Sacramento and Yosemite) began to commute to LCM on a weekly basis to attend the League classes. 

2008 – 2009
(LCM is Founded)

League of Creative Minds (LCM) was formally incorporated as an educational nonprofit organization on February 17, 2009.

2009 – 2010
(International Ventures)

The League enrolls 75 delegates from the surrounding Bay Area and opens its first Hall of Debate in October of 2009. Students enroll from 28 different schools. LCM is invited to represent a youth leadership panel at the Arnold Schwarzenegger United Nations Climate Change Summit before Copenhagen. League delegates compete in 7 different national conferences and two international conferences in Dublin, Ireland, and in Beijing, China. Two more League Associates join LCM.

2010 – 2011
(LCM Field Study Pilot Program)

The League enrolls 85 year-round delegates in the fall of 2010. The League runs a novice pilot delegation, the initial class enrolls 9 delegates from the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. Students from over 35 schools enroll. The League attends 9 Model UN conferences and two international conferences-one in South Korea, followed by Beijing. The field study pilot program is born and delegates undergo an advanced study in culture and history as they carefully retrace the ancient Silk Road through the Uighur region in Western China. The League begins to hire year-round Fellows.

The League is now sponsored by the Stanford School of Medicine.

2011 – 2012
(Long Term Thinking)

The endeavors of the League thus far lead to the creation of an academic diplomatic curriculum aimed at enhancing early leadership development through critical thinking for youth. The League pioneers a multi-sector approach to academic development that uses the concept of diplomacy as a decision-making tool, rather than an end goal. League classes follow the Harkness Method; negotiation is integrated into the curriculum.

Through motivation and leadership by the delegates the LCM pilot Middle School debate conference, held at the Stanford School of Medicine, is officially launched.

2012 – 2013
LCM Field Study
(2nd Year Pilot)

The League enrolls 129 year-round students from 51 different schools. Two additional pivotal pilot field studies takes place. The first on advanced ancient history in Rome, and the second on cultural anthropology in Istanbul & Central Turkey.

League delegates host the inaugural high school conference. LCM now hosts two internal middle school intra-League debate conferences. LCM continues to evolve in the direction of a successful field study program, fresh curriculum, and big picture thinking that is a constant element found in the League. League Fellow Kristina Kashfullina joins the League.

2013 – 2014
(LCM Field Study Program: Official Launch!)

The official LCM Field Study Program is founded in July 2013. LCM delegates travel to the Balkan States of Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia. Delegates study how a nation rebuilds a judicial system after a war (Serbia and Bosnia), as well as the formation of a new Nation-State in Kosovo. We remain in gratitude to all our hosts in our previous pilot studies in Northwestern China, all over Turkey, and in Rome, Italy. A special note of gratitude to the U.S. State Department, the Department of Justice, and Stanford University for collaboration and guidance.

This academic school year the League enrolls 168 year-round delegates. The delegates are from 62 different schools, and live in 31 cities all across the Bay Area including one delegate commuting from Yosemite.

2014 – 2015
Evolving beyond Model United Nations

In recognition of the constant evolution of the League and the depth of exploration by the delegates, the League is now hosting a variety of Model Congress and Model Government debate conferences, in addition to Model UN.

This academic year a longtime League Fellow Daniel Flores introduces the launching of the League Emissary, and League Monitor. This proves to be a wonderful space that allows delegates to share ideas, and gather research as One League. Given the long-lasting Iranian Negotiations delegates were well-versed for the variety of Parliamentary, Congressional, and Senate style debates that would ensue. From the Middle East Peace Process, to the Cyprus Negotiation Talks, the British House of Commons, or the Bioethics Council; the LCM negotiation curriculum was put to the test.

A bittersweet moment were the debates at Georgetown, where LCM alumni Andrew Lyu, a junior at the School of Foreign Service, held the top seat as Secretary General of NAIMUN 2015. League alumni Elliot Owen now @MIT came back to teach some dynamic improvisation classes in the middle school delegations. There is much gratitude for Stanford Emeritus professor Martin Hellman for his continued dedication to international affairs and mentorship. Thank you for sharing such wisdom in the LCM classes. Finally, we honor and recognize with distinction the solid teaching-assistant team. The year-round TA’s remain steadfast and dedicated, and add a distinct life and color to the weekly year-round classes. Thank you to all LCM alumni for your support in teaching, creating, chairing and mentoring LCM middle school and high school delegates.

This academic school year the League enrolled 205 year-round delegates. The delegates are in classes together at LCM but attend school all over the Bay Area from 137 distinct schools, and live in 46 cities, all across the Bay Area, including Yosemite. League Fellow Visar Kelmendi joins LCM from Kosovo.

2015 – 2016
(Alumni and Senior Leadership)

LCM alumni are invited as faculty advisors to the LCM Field Study program. Erika Farmer, a 6Y delegate alumni, now a sophomore at Carlton makes this new post official on the most recent Cuba field study of November 2015. In the spring of 2016 we hold a domestic field study on Poverty in the United States in Washington D.C. and rural Virginia.

The League reaches capacity for growth at approximately 200 year-round delegates, with 105 delegates in the high school program, and 98 delegates in the middle school program. LCM adds two more full time positions to the academic team.

2016 – 2017
League Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

The League of Creative Minds now regularly enrolls approximately 200 year-round delegates and increases an academic team that is managing several classes running at the same time both during the school-year as well as during the Summer program at Stanford.

Erika joins LCM as a faculty advisor on the field study across Canada on the First Nations Peoples. The League travels to: British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. The field study information gathering process and interview technique is refined.

2017 – 2018
(A Year of Transition)

The League travels to the Middle East to Israel, Palestinian Territories, and the Golan Heights. The field study topics include: water rights, refugees, borders, and settlements. Masao Dahlgren, a long time League delegate and teacher, and now an LCM Alumni member attends the field study as a faculty advisor.

Towards the end of the academic year of 2018 the League bids farewell to a long time teacher and co-founder. The League summer then begins at Stanford with an outstanding academic team and returning alumni Arisa Herman, a rising junior at the Georgetown School on Foreign Affairs, introduces a new chapter on Security and Terrorism.

2018 – 2019
(New Voices, Distinct Perspectives, and Empathy)

The League welcomes two brilliant minds to the academic team Olyvia Chinchilla, an economist, and John Gaudette, an international lawyer. Maggie Gray a junior at Stanford continues in her third year teaching year-round with the League and continues to introduce topics on Cybersecurity and Intelligence.  Erin Dollard, a longtime LCM delegate, and new League teacher introduces a powerful chapter on bioethics that will continue into 2020 and beyond. Alexander Derhacobian, a longtime league delegate and new Stanford freshman will be continuing with LCM with a focus on ethics as a whole, and the impact it has on law and history specifically.

The League completes a third field study in Cuba.  The League delegates travel to the U.S.-Mexico border in two separate field studies for a full hands-on exploratory study of immigration, and an understanding of the current unfolding situation and policy.  Michal Goldstein develops classes on trauma migrants face after forced family separations at our U.S./Mexico border.  Delegates present their findings in a Congressional committee in Washington D.C. 

In addition to the long relationship with the Stanford School of Medicine, the League is now sponsored by the University of San Francisco, School of Medicine.

2019 – 2020
(Representing the United States of America)

During the winter of 2019, League delegates attend the Yale Model Government Europe in Lisbon, Portugal. League delegates, as is often the case, are the only delegation from the United States, thereby representing the United States abroad in soft diplomacy, in addition to various roles of debate.

In the week leading up to the debate conference League delegates embarked on an Energy field study trekking over to the Westlands in the Netherlands, and examining precision farming. The League delegates then spent a week in the Hague, and were able to attend the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Summit hosted by Physicians Without Borders, and additionally supported by the Ministry of the Netherlands.

COVID begins and LCM transitions to high quality online capabilities instantly.

2020 – 2021
(Adventure, Flexibility, and Adaptability)

The LCM re-opening plan is approved by all three public health officials, across three different counties, to operate fully in person. League parents volunteer their homes and backyards across the Bay Area for in-person classes. LCM teachers teach outdoors, in the wind, rain, and despite noise pollution or the occasional distracting squirrel, there is beauty and awe in our new fresh air, sunshine medium.

The League continues to offer engaging online classes for 50% of delegates attending classes online. League delegates begin a three part comparative legal systems field study, completing the first field study in San Francisco, April 2021. The second field study later that summer in Iceland, examining the open prison system, and in Portugal, studying the decriminalization of all drugs. Renown international lawyer and law professor, Chimene Keitner, begins teaching with the League, and working with the League delegates.

2021 – 2022
(The Question of the Ukrainian Invasion)

The League begins sponsorship with Stanford Law School. LCM classes beginning the fall of 2021 return back to full in-person classes, once again indoors. The League delegates spend the summer of 2022 on a field study on the contemporary war in Ukraine. League delegates travel across Poland to five Polish cities bordering Ukraine. Upon completing this eye-opening portion of the field study the delegation moves to Tallinn, Estonia, to study the impact Russia has had on its neighbors, and Estonia’s rise to a top tier global standing in cybersecurity.

2022 – 2023
(Getting Out in the World to Bring Perspective to the Bay Area)

The League bids farewell to top League Associate Olyvia Chinchilla, and excitedly welcomes political scientist and ecologist, Nicholas Farrell. The League delegates travel to Brown as debate conferences open up fully once again. On the heels of Brown, the League partakes in a follow-up cybersecurity field study albeit this time in Seoul, South Korea. Delegates compete at the Yale Model United Nations in Seoul, South Korea, and once again find themselves as the only Americans in the room amongst a variety of Middle Eastern, Asian, and European counterparts and peers.