Who we are
The Young Global Leaders ® Community is an accelerator for a dynamic community of exceptional people with the vision, courage, and influence to drive positive change in the world.
Our growing membership of more than 1,400 members and alumni of 120 nationalities includes civic and business innovators, entrepreneurs, technology pioneers, educators, activists, artists, journalists, and more.
Aligned with the World Economic Forum’s mission, we seek to drive public-private co-operation in the global public interest. We are united by the belief that today’s pressing problems present an opportunity to build a better future across sectors and boundaries.
Discover how science and technology are being brought together to help those affected by paralysis walk.
Greenland Impact Expedition
Learn the story of YGLs who travelled to Greenland to observe first-hand the effects of climate change.
Explore the annual awards programme that celebrates, showcases and promotes circular economy innovation.
Discover a community of strategic philanthropists who use their resources to improve the health and rights of girls and women worldwide.
Kakuma Impact Expedition
Learn the story of YGLs who travelled to Kakuma in Kenya to help refugees gain access to the global economy.
Meet our members
Freddy Castro is Chief Executive Officer of Banca de las Oportunidades, a government entity responsible for designing and implementing financial inclusion policy in Colombia. At Banca de las Oportunidades, he has led projects that benefit women and the rural population, bringing digital payments to market squares in Bogota, helping to remove entry barriers to the financial system for Venezuelan migrants, promoting the financial innovation ecosystem, expanding a banking agency model using local shops to reach the rural population, and generating evidence and data for public policy decision-making. Before joining Banca de las Oportunidades, he worked in the Central Bank of Colombia and served as Secretary of Economic Development of Bogota. He also worked as a journalist and professor, and has held executive roles in a business association. Castro studied economics at Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Dr. Zhu Xiaoxuan is the Deputy Director of China Science and Technology Exchange Center at the Ministry of Science and Technology. Dr. Zhu is an expert in international S&T cooperation policy development and has been participating national level research policy development in the S&T fields.
Billy Wai-Lung Ng
Wai-Lung (Billy) Ng is an Assistant Professor at the School of Pharmacy at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where he leads the Laboratory of Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery. He has successfully used cutting-edge technologies to develop therapeutic molecules for combating viral pandemics and aging-related diseases. Professor Ng and his international team were the first to discover that an approved HCV drug can be repurposed for the treatment of COVID-19. He is currently creating disruptive therapeutic molecules with the ultimate goal to eradicate cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. Professor Ng completed his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School and the University of Oxford after receiving his Ph.D. and B.Sc. in Chemistry from CUHK. He was also a Fulbright Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during his graduate study. He has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Marie Curie Fellowship, Croucher Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, and Hong Kong PhD Fellowship.
Izkia Siches Pastén, MD, is a graduate of the Universidad de Chile Medical School and trained in internal medicine at the same university. She works in the Infectious Diseases Unit of the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Santiago de Chile since 2018, one of the most reputed Infectious Diseases units in Chile. She is also a member of the board of directors of the NGO "Médicos Sin Marca" which seeks to promote evidence-based clinical practice, free from pharmaceutical influences. In 2017, after a superlative performance as a student union representative, she assumed the Chilean College of Physicians' presidency, being the first woman in this position and recently reelected in 2020 for a second period. Nowadays, after the social outbreak in Chile in October 2019, she leads the most valued institution for the Chilean population in a convoluted country. Notably, she and the Human Rights department of the Chilean College of Physicians have denounced the use of kinetic impact projectiles by the police, which resulted in severe ocular trauma and permanent disability to thousands of Chileans during the social outbreak. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been advised by a reputed group of experts from different disciplines, being the voice of evidence-based recommendations and interventions that connect with common sense and most disadvantaged populations. Siches has been the counterweight of a government with one of the highest mortality and contagion rates. Today, she still works in the pandemic response and argues for health rights in her country's new constitution, about to be written in April 2021.
Virginijus Sinkevičius has been the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries since 2019. He was formerly the Minister of Economy of Lithuania (2017-2019). Before becoming the Minister of Economy, Sinkevičius led the Economic Committee of the Parliament of Lithuania. Sinkevičius was elected to Parliament in October 2016. Before that, he was a Team Lead for Regulatory Affairs at Invest Lithuania. Prior to joining Invest Lithuania, Sinkevičius was Managing Editor at the US Office of The Lithuanian Tribune in Washington D.C. Sinkevičius holds a BA in International Relations and Affairs from Aberystwyth University and a Master’s degree in European International Affairs from Maastricht University.
Yanqing (Kenny) Cai
Yanqing (Kenny) Cai is Co-Founder and CEO of BottleDream. In 2012, he quit his job as an UX designer and travelled the world for 18 months, documenting the stories of young people from more than 20 countries who were changing the world. That experience helped shape his vision for BottleDream, now one of China’s top social innovation platforms. He has inspired more than 150,000 Chinese young people to care about social innovation and sustainable development. He is now building a co-creation community with DAO spirit which dedicates to incubate social innovation actions and projects.
Mr. Kaufmann is the Head of Private Equity and a Portfolio Manager for Viking Global Investors, LP, a global investment firm that manages over $40 billion. He is also a member of the firm's Management Committee. From 2010 to 2016, Mr. Kaufmann was a public equity Portfolio Manager and Investment Analyst responsible for investment ideas in the healthcare and life sciences sector. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Kaufmann was an Associate at TA Associates, where he was responsible for originating, researching and executing private equity investments in the healthcare and business services sectors. From 2003 to 2005, he was an Investment Banking Analyst in Merrill Lynch's Mergers and Acquisitions Group. Mr. Kaufmann is a graduate of Harvard Business School, where he received an MBA and was a Baker Scholar, and of Cornell University, where he received a B.S. in applied economics and business management, magna cum laude. In 2021, he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Mmaki Jantjies is a South African computer scientist and is the Group Executive for Innovation at Telkom South Africa. She is also an adjunct Associate Professor.
She holds a PhD in Computer Sciences from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. Passionate about digital inclusion, her PHD study focused on developing and scaling multilingual mobile learning systems to support science learning in schools. She has greatly contributed to the advancement of technology for development, having conducted studies on mobile digital systems design and adoption in developing countries in education, health as well as in the small businesses sector. Prof Jantjies was also part of a University of the Western Cape (UWC) team that launched one of the first Postgraduate Diplomas in e-Skills Development in Africa. The UWC programme equips students with skills in immersive technologies like augmented and virtual reality, supporting the technology development of AR/VR applications applied across various sectors. Jantjies has served as Department Head of Information Systems at the University of the Western Cape, as well as at the North West University.
She also established a non-profit organization that has trained teachers to infuse technology and data literacy in schools. Jantjies has been a visiting research fellow at the University of Lancaster - Institute of Coding and University of Warwick, and exchange staff at Die Hochschule Neu-Ulm HNU. In 2017 and 2018, she was the South Africa's representative to the W20 in the G20 focusing on digital inclusion of women. She is an NRF South African rated scientists and is also a member of the South Africa Young Academy of Scientists (SAYAS).