The application period for Catalyst 2018 is now closed.


Candidates eligible to apply for CATALYST 2018 will be:

  • 15-17 years old
  • English or Spanish speaking (or both!)
  • From a country in North or South America
  • From a community affected by the war on drugs*
  • An active member of their community
  • Able to attend the full duration of the course
  • Curious, creative, mature and with an interest in issues related to the War on Drugs. 

We encourage applicants of any race, colour, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability and socioeconomic status to apply. 

*At Catalyst our understanding of the War on Drugs is broad: mass-incarceration; racist policing practices; overdoses and addictions; gang-violence; state violence; guerrilla violence;(para)militarization; disappearances and human rights abuses; migration/displacement caused by drug/gang-related violence; insecurity; organized crime; corruption; drug cropping; drug trafficking; prescription drug abuse; the opioid crisis; money laundering; etc. It is our opinion that the War on Drugs involves all of us. As long as you can articulate how your community is touched by and/or complicit with any of the above or related phenomena, in our eyes, you're from a community that has been affected by the War on Drugs. 


Tuition for CATALYST 2018 is $3000 USD. This includes room, board and transportation within Mexico during the duration of the course. This does not include the costs associated with traveling to and from Mexico City or travel insurance.

Full need-based financial aid (including round trip travel to Mexico, insurance and fees associated with obtaining passports and visas) are available to all students, so please do not let the cost of the program deter you from applying. We also provide assistance to all participants in obtaining passports, visas, and travel insurance.


After reading all applications, we will short-list a group of 30-35 applicants. Short-listed applicants will be contacted for telephone/Skype interviews in early April. Successful candidates will be notified of their acceptance in mid-April. The admission process is selective and we take into account a variety of variables including linguistic and geographic diversity in order to assemble a group that is as reflective of our vast and varied continent as possible. We have no doubt that everyone who applies to Catalyst would make a valuable contribution to the program, however, sadly we can only accept between 20-25 candidates per year. 

We kindly request that you wait until you are contacted. We will contact everybody. Thank you and good luck! 


The general application period for Catalyst 2018 is now closed, however we will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis from the following regions: Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico & the US (South, South-West & West Coast).

To avoid accidentally losing any of your work, we suggest you write out your responses in a separate Word document and then copy and paste them into the form below once completed. Be aware of length limitations!

If for any reason you are unable to access the form below, click here.


Having problems with your application? Please don't hesitate to contact us: