A group of nearly 300 teens rep­re­senting the best and brightest of the African Amer­ican com­mu­nity in the United States are at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity this week for the National Urban League’s Youth Lead­er­ship Summit, which kicked off Tuesday night at Matthews Arena.

When I look out and see you, I see the future of the Urban League move­ment,” said Dar­nell Williams, the CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Mass­a­chu­setts, speaking at the wel­come event. “If I had an apple in my hand, and I cut it in half, I know we could all count how many seeds we’d find. But how many CEOs are in those seeds? How many leaders? We’re get­ting old, and we’re looking to you.”

The 22nd annual Youth Summit was held in con­junc­tion with the National Urban League’s annual con­fer­ence, being held at the Boston Con­ven­tion and Exhi­bi­tion Center. It is the first time the annual con­fer­ence has been held in Boston since 1976, when the city was in the midst of the school busing upheaval. Par­tic­i­pants this year came from 37 cities across the United States, including Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Wash­ington, D.C., Detroit and Houston.

Throughout the week, events and activ­i­ties will stress the summit’s theme of, “Edu­ca­tion: The Foun­da­tion for Every Occu­pa­tion.” On Friday, Mass­a­chu­setts Gov­ernor Deval Patrick will speak to the group at Matthews Arena about the impor­tance of sci­ence, tech­nology and math edu­ca­tion (STEM) and Northeastern’s Center for STEM Edu­ca­tion has orga­nized activ­i­ties in more than a dozen lab­o­ra­to­ries and research cen­ters across Northeastern’s campus.

Among the event’s first speakers was Imani George, a Boston res­i­dent who is about to begin her freshman year of high school. She said that adults need to sup­port the next gen­er­a­tion of black leaders, but that the ulti­mate respon­si­bility for suc­cess lies with the youth themselves.

Speaking to her peers, George said, “We begin by acknowl­edging, and accepting, that the ulti­mate respon­si­bility for suc­cess or failure in our life relies with us. We need to be active par­tic­i­pants in our edu­ca­tion, because no matter how much sup­port we get from people around us, none of that will matter if we don’t have the strength to work hard.”

Robert Git­tens, Northeastern’s vice pres­i­dent for public affairs, said he was glad to wel­come the group to North­eastern and encour­aged each attendee to seri­ously con­sider their future in higher edu­ca­tion, the best way for someone to pre­pare for a future solving local and national problems.

We have some crit­ical chal­lenges ahead of us and we need you young people to take the lead in solving those prob­lems,” Git­tens said. “We need your talent, we need your vision, and we need your lead­er­ship to solve these prob­lems. And that is where places like uni­ver­si­ties come into the equa­tion. We want to be there to sup­port you, to give you the edu­ca­tion, the skills and the real world expe­ri­ence so you’re in the posi­tion to step into your lead­er­ship roles.”

The youth summit runs through Sat­urday, July 30. The National Urban League Con­fer­ence, an annual event held in a dif­ferent city each year, addresses social, polit­ical and eco­nomic issues through dia­logues with national and com­mu­nity leaders; the focus of this year’s event is jobs and unem­ploy­ment — espe­cially among minori­ties — across the United States.