Hugh O' Brian
From left, Hugh O'Brian, Barbie and William Bassett in New York for the Albert Schweitzer Dinner. Barbie was awarded the National Volunteer of the Year Award by Hugh.
In 1958, Hugh O'Brian returned from Africa highly inspired by his visit with Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Later that year, while portraying the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp on television, Hugh O'Brian decided to make his own contribution to society by establishing the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Program (HOBY). Since that time, HOBY has motivated tens of thousands of young people to realize their leadership potential by conducting annual seminars on a variety of subjects which focus around the theme of "America's Incentive System."

During the years 1958 to 1967, leadership seminars took place in Los Angeles, California, for students from that area.

In 1968, HOBY developed its annual, week-long "World Leadership Congress," formerly called the "International Leadership Seminar." Today more than 220 sophomores, representing every state and approximately 25 countries, have the opportunity to interact at the WLC with nationally recognized leaders from various fields.

Since 1977, HOBY has been involved in the development of Leadership Seminars throughout the country so that more high school sophomores may experience high-level leadership exposure on a state basis.

From only five weekend Leadership Seminars in 1977 with 346 students, HOBY now serves over 8,000 students annually and conducts approximately 70 seminars.

Mission Statement

  • To seek out, recognize, and reward leadership potential commencing with promising high school sophomores.
  • To give young leaders a better understanding and appreciation of America's economic system, our democratic process, and to encourage their active participation in designing their world of tomorrow.
  • To encourage and assist members of this formative age group in their quest for self-identification and self-development.
  • To stimulate opportunities for these young people to demonstrate their leadership abilities.
  • To enhance learning and understanding.
  • To provide face-to-face interaction with distinguished leaders in business, industry, education, science and government to the end that they will better understand the American Incentive System, our democratic process and the need to seek out and make informed judgments based on facts.
  • To focus on prevailing social, economic and political realities that they will have in their future.
  • To focus greater understanding of the American Incentive System among youth of other countries.


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HOBY's vision is "To motivate and empower individuals to make a positive difference within our global society through understanding and action based on effective and compassionate leadership." HOBY's success is the direct result of its 4,000 national volunteers who plan and execute its programs Leadership Seminars, Alumni activities and Community Leadership Education Workshops.