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
Thomas Crowther is a Welsh ecologist in the department of Global Ecosystem Ecology at ETH Zurich, where he founded Crowther Lab, an interdisciplinary group of scientists studying global ecosystems and generating knowledge to protect biodiversity and address climate change. He serves as chair of the advisory board of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and chief scientific advisor to the UN’s Trillion Trees Campaign. Crowther is the founder of Restor, a science-based open data platform that provides ecological insights, transparency and connectivity to conservation and restoration efforts across the globe. Restor was named a finalist for the Royal Foundation’s 2021 Earthshot Prize. Crowther serves on the advisory council of WEF’s Trillion Trees initiative (1T.org).
Chen Li has taken roles in Gotion High-Tech since 2014, including Director of Silicon Valley R&D Center, CEO of Gotion US, Director of Global R&D Centers, VP of Engineering R&D Institute, and now SVP and President of Gotion Global. He is a member of the CPPCC of Baohe District in Hefei City. Before Gotion, he worked with think tanks Bridging Nations Foundation and Worldwatch Institute in Washington, DC. He holds a BS from Purdue University and MPA from Columbia University.
Christian Zeinler is Managing Director, Head of Strategy and Business Development at UBS where he has reorganized the team structure. He is passionate about the people mission in his job and invests significant time in sponsoring and coaching colleagues while creating opportunities. Prior to UBS, he successfully launched and managed a convertible bond fund before working at McKinsey & Company. Zeinler was one of McKinsey’s Core Leaders in its Wealth and Asset Management practice, leading and driving its efforts and knowledge creation globally on Investment Solutions. As a Partner, he was able to shape the industry’s strategic agenda working with the global leading institutions in this space.
Vibin B Joseph
Dr. Vibin Joseph, Chief Executive Officer of BiOZEEN and Management Committee member at PJB Group, is a co-founder and technopreneur. He stewards global operations that process and formulate more than a billion doses of vaccines every year. Vibin has ensured continuous production support across five continents through innovating self-managing teams. He has supported an inclusive industry structure that emphasizes learning ecosystems focused on upskilling more than 130 small enterprises in India. Committed to knowledge dissemination and equity, he has facilitated industry seminars and career progression for more than 2,000 graduates. Vibin is an Engineer and biologist by training with degrees from PESIT, Imperial College London, and Doctorate from Warwick University. His research interests lie in systems design, design psychology, and moderating industry influencers. With a vision to enable every country to produce vaccines locally, Vibin is a subject expert and consultant with the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturing Network and partners with the African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative. Vibin inspires positive change as a One Young World Ambassador and Gates Foundation Goalkeeper for UN sustainable development goals. He is a director at the Imperial College India Foundation and chairs the alumni association in South India. The Irish Independent described him as a future leader and recognized by Imperial College Business School for outstanding contribution to society.
Nerissa is a seasoned entrepreneur, CEO and board member. She was a co-founder and CEO of āxil, a Fintech creating a smart wallet for small businesses.
Nerissa has served as a board member to multiple businesses globally over the last 5 years. Her directive is to advise on the overall ESG, technology enablement, and revenue generation strategies as businesses grow or gain strategic funding. She has been appointed as Chair of the Board to multiple companies, Audit Chair, and sits on Governance and Compensation committees.
During her two-decade corporate tenure, Nerissa has filled numerous senior executive roles, to open, manage and grow global businesses whilst at AIG and Accenture, provide board oversight, manage a 5000+ global workforce, and perform multinational strategic turnarounds through M&A and divestitures in Fortune 100 companies. She has worked in over 40 countries, navigating cross-border working environments and regulators including the Fed.
As a native South African who grew up in Apartheid, Nerissa has been a proponent of equality and strives to break the mould of stereotypes in gender, race, and professional norms. She has been a keynote speaker on diversity and inclusion, systemic inequality, and racial injustice.
Nerissa was selected as a Young Global Leader in the World Economic Forum in 2019, and subsequently elected to its Advisory Group, including Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion sub-committee in 2021. She was featured in the Financial Times as a leader to watch, holds an executive MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business and a BTech in Industrial Engineering from the Durban University of Technology. More recently, she continues her executive education at London, Harvard and Wharton Business Schools.
Laure is a Managing Director at Swiss Re and leader of the single risk business in EMEA. Leading a team of nearly 100 colleagues and managing premium income of USD1bn, she is the youngest Managing Director of this leading Global Risk carrier. Together with her team, she is fully engaged to deliver on Swiss Re's purpose to make the world more resilient. Beyond work, Laure is committed to empowering the disadvantaged. She is involved in initiatives to promote diversity, including being a champion for women in STEM, supporting entrepreneurship in Africa and Chair of philanthropy committee of the Swiss Re Foundation in Switzerland. She is the happy mother of three young children and lives in Zurich, Switzerland.
Dr. Subha Nagarajan is leading the charge for GE’s ambitious emerging markets investment portfolio. She heads the U.S. Advisory and Execution team for GE Capital’s Global Capital Advisory team based in Washington DC. In this role, Subha leads the structuring, execution and relationship management for US-based export credit agencies (ECAs), development finance institutions (DFIs), and other financing institutions.
Prior to GE, Subha was the Managing Director for Africa at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. She opened OPIC’s first overseas office in Africa in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. In this role, she was responsible for coordinating business development across insurance, project and corporate finance, and private equity investments.
Subha also worked in various leadership roles at the African Development Bank, where she was responsible for originating, structuring and executing private equity and project finance transactions in infrastructure, energy, and oil & gas sectors.
She has co-authored Understanding Power Project Finance, Understanding Power Project Procurement, Committee of Ten Policy Brief: Financing of Sustainable Energy Solutions, and contributed to the WEF publication Paving the Way: Maximizing the Value of Private Finance in Infrastructure, along with other publications.
Subha has a Ph.D in Applied Economics from the George Washington University, and a MA in Finance and Economics from McGill University.
Ilwad Elman a young female leader at the forefront of the Somali peace process, and a global authority on peace and security.
Ilwad and her family became refugees following the outbreak of the civil war in Somalia, eventually finding asylum in Canada. Aged 19, she felt the responsibility to leave the safety of Canada and return to a Somalia still steeped in violent conflict, where she co-founded the Elman Peace Centre. At just 20, she co-founded Somalia’s first rape crisis center. Since then, Ilwad has become a champion of building peace through giving all those impacted by conflict — particularly women and girls — a seat at the table.
She has designed interventions aimed at security sector reform to create an inclusive space for women in peace building and developing programs for the disarmament and rehabilitation of child and youth soldiers as well as adults defecting from armed groups for their socio-economic empowerment, rehabilitation and reintegration. Beyond her duties at the Elman Peace Centre; Ilwad is an advocate for the Kofi Annan foundation and was a mentee of His Excellency, the late Kofi Annan for 3 years.
She has briefed the UN Security Council on numerous occasions since 2015; the most recent in 2021 on Climate and Security, a historic debate on the intrinsic link between climate change and conflict. Through the Elman Peace Centre, Ilwad has created a methodology for community-based peace building in contexts of ongoing conflict that is now being exported to conflicts across Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and in 2022 has scaled the approach also to Uganda, Burundi, DRC and Rwanda.
It has led to her becoming a UN expert advisor on Peace & Security to two consecutive UN Secretary Generals, she has contributed to policy cited in UN Security Council Resolution 2250, and in 2020 has completed a 2 year role where she was the youngest board member of the UN Peace Building Fund, advising the UN Secretary General directly on fragile & conflict affected states globally.
She is currently on UNICEF’s Global Board of Trustees for “Generation Unlimited” on employment, training & education globally. Under the leadership of the former Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs; Margot Wallström; is an advisor on the International Panel for the Environment of Peace 2022 project- Exploring the nexus between Climate and Security. Is on the steering Committee of the Every Woman Treaty for ending violence against women and Commissioner and lead convener on Youth, Peace, Security on the Principles for Peace initiative.
Ilwad has completed the following fellowships; President Barrack Obama’s Flagship White House fellow for Young African Leaders 2014. 2018- 2019 United Kingdom’s Foreign Office International Leaders Program Fellow. 2021 RAISA women leadership fellow Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spain .
Ilwad has been recognized with numerous awards and recognitions including but not limited to:
• 2015 Gleitsman International Activist Award from Harvard University
• 2016 Right the Wrongs Award from Oxfam America
• 2016 Young African Woman of the Year Award
• 2017 B.E.T Global Good Star Award Recipient
• 2018 AU Most Inspiring Young Woman Award
• 2019 100 Most Influential Young Africans
• 2020 Aurora Humanitarian Award Laureate
• 2020 Forbes Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women
• 2020 Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pro Dignitate Humana Award
• 2020 German Africa Award
• 2021 Heirs of Africa Woman of Power award
• 2022 Center for Education, Development and Preventing Violent Extremism (Peace Award) from Chad
• 2022 King Baudouin Foundation Prize
• 2022 Africa Conference on Peace “Peace Shield Award” Mauritania
• 2022 Right Livelihood (Alternative Nobel) Prize
• 2023 Hessian Peace Prize
Geoffrey is currently on a temporary parental break helping organisations learn how to use AI and test ideas using AI. Geoffrey was the co-founder of a Y-Combinator backed startup Poko connecting payments infrastructure to blockchain rails. He previously led Digital Identity at startup Trusting Social, which help score 1B+ credit profiles using AI models and telco data. He also worked on Big Data cases at Bain and was a founding team member of a $2.4B coincap layer 1 blockchain protocol. He is Chairman and founder of non-profit Choson Exchange, which trains entrepreneurs in frontier markets - nearly dying twice in North Korea. Geoffrey was a Schmidt Futures Fellow, MIT CIS Fellow, Ethereum Foundation Fellow and a member of the Global Futures Council, Digital Currency Governance Consortium and Digital Payments Taskforce at the World Economic Forum. His work has been featured as a Harvard Business School case study. Geoffrey graduated from Yale and Wharton.