Joseph Petrila


Joey Petrila spent 9 years growing up on a sailboat traveling around the Caribbean, USA, and Central America with his parents and older sister. Joey's uncommon nautical childhood meant that at 8 years old, his chores included scraping barnacles off the side of his family's catamaran. By the time he turned 12, he knew to dread the mornings when he had to sit idly for hours desalinating water from the ocean to drink. And before his 16th birthday, he was at the helm of his sailboat battling 3-meter waves that punched bucket-sized holes into the floors and flooded his kitchen.

While their trusty sailboat withstood all, a life at sea and travel brought a wide variety of challenges and experiences to an ever-relocating kid-turned-teenager. Before moving to Prague for his undergraduate studies, he went through several education systems. Joey was a homeschooled student, then a student at a local school in Mexico for 2 years. Then he transitioned to online correspondence learning while living in Malaysia and across Europe - and finally graduated from an American public high school in 2017. After traveling to over 30 countries, and living across 3 continents, Joey learned from a childhood of constantly revolving cultures, schooling styles - and backyards - that there are common bonds between people that can go unseen beneath the consistently polarizing discourse that divides us. Starting with empowering individuals of all ages and nationalities on how to face challenges and build towards their goals, Joey found a passion for projects that can help local communities while also providing an opportunity where he can help people tap into their potential to trigger strong growth in their professional and personal lives.

Today, Joey works in the field of communication and is an activist in favor of youth-led solution building when it comes to tackling pressing issues in society. At 23 years old, he's the youngest elected Curator of the World Economic Forum's youth initiative based in Prague, which he oversees in his free time. Made up of 30+ members and 8 teams of fellow activists, Global Shapers Prague continuously runs projects looking to create a positive impact locally on topics such as diversity in STEM, the circular economy, and civic engagement.