Who we are
The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a community with the vision, courage and influence to drive positive change.
During a transformational five-year experience, YGLs are inspired to be bold in undertaking a sense of shared responsibility, impact and ambition.
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
Paula Ingabire holds a crucial and strategic portfolio in one of Africa's leading technological powers. Through her passion and expertise, she has propelled Rwanda forward in its adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution tools.
Amal Clooney is a barrister practicing at Doughty Street Chambers in London who specialises in international law and human rights. Her clients range from political prisoners and ousted Heads of State to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the Republic of Armenia. She has appeared before international courts in The Hague, at the European Court of Human Rights and in courts in the UK and US. She has been appointed to UN commissions investigating terrorist attacks in the Middle East and armed drone strikes in Pakistan, and was an adviser to Kofi Annan on Syria. She is a Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School, where she teaches Human Rights, and is author of the book The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2016.
Dr. David A. Bray has served in a variety of leadership roles in turbulent environments involving people, tech, and data for public good. These roles include bioterrorism preparedness and response from 2000-2005 and time on the ground in Afghanistan in 2009. He also served as the executive director for a bipartisan National Commission on R&D and as a non-partisan federal agency senior executive in challenging circumstances. David also has worked in and advised six different startups. He accepted a leadership role in December 2019 to incubate a new global center with the Atlantic Council.
He also provides strategy to both boards and start-ups espousing human-centric principles to technology-enabled decision making requiring leadership in ambiguous, turbulent environments. Business Insider named David one of the top “24 Americans Who Are Changing the World” under forty in 2016. He also became a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum. From 2017 to the start of 2020, he served as executive director for the People-Centered Internet coalition Chaired by internet co-originator Vint Cerf. In this role, he focused on providing expertise for community-focused projects that measurably improved people’s lives using the internet. Dr. Bray became a senior fellow with the Institute for Human-Machine Cognition in starting in 2018.
David became an Eisenhower Fellow in 2015 . In this role, he met with leaders in Taiwan and Australia on multisector cyber strategies for the “Internet of Everything”. He also became Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2018 and traveled to Europe. While there he focused on transatlantic issues of common concern including exponential technologies and the global future ahead. Later in 2018 and 2019, he worked with the US Navy and Marines on improving organizational adaptability and to work with U.S. Special Operation Command’s J5 Directorate on the challenges of countering misinformation and disinformation online. He completed a PhD from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Afterwards, he completed two post-doctoral associateships at MIT and Harvard in 2008. He is the author of more than forty different academic papers and published publications.
He enjoys creative problem solving. David began working for the US government at age fifteen on computer simulations at a high-energy physics facility investigating quarks and neutrinos. In later roles, he designed new telemedicine interfaces and space-based forest fire forecasting prototypes for the Department of Defense. From 1998-2000 he volunteered as a part-time crew lead with Habitat for Humanity International. This includes travel to the Philippines, Honduras, Romania, and Nepal while also working as a project manager with Yahoo! and a Microsoft partner firm. Dr. Bray then joined as IT chief for the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He led the program’s technology response to during 9/11, anthrax in 2001, Severe Acute Respiratory System in 2003, and other international public health emergencies.
David likes to be a digital diplomat and a “human flak jacket” for teams of change agents working in turbulent environments. In 2009, he volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan to help “think differently” on military and humanitarian issues. As a result, he later received the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award. In 2010, he became a senior national intelligence service executive advocating for increased information interoperability, cybersecurity, and protection of civil liberties. In 2012, Dr. Bray became the executive director for the bipartisan National Commission for Review of Research and Development Programs of the United States Intelligence Community, subsequently receiving the National Intelligence Exceptional Achievement Medal. He later received both the Arthur S. Flemming Award and Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership.
His passions include complicated, near impossible missions involving humans and technology in challenging circumstances. Through the efforts of a team of “positive change agents”, David led the transformation of the Federal Communication Commission’s legacy IT with more than 207 different systems to award-winning tech. This included rolling-out new cloud-based IT that achieved results in 1/2 the time at 1/6 the cost. As a result, he received the Armed Forces Communications and Electronic Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Civilian Government. Dr. Bray later received the global CIO 100 Award twice for transformational leadership in change-adverse settings. These awards usually are bestowed to private sector Fortune 500 companies. In 2019, he gave the invited AI World Society Distinguished Lecture to the United Nations on UN Charter Day.
David’s research areas include the future of work, governance, and the augmented communities. He champions a human focus on collaboration, pluralism, and individual choices. Over the years for six different startups, he has served as president, chief strategy officer, and strategic advisor roles. He accepted a role of co-chair for 2016-2017 with an IEEE Committee focused on Artificial Intelligence, automated systems, and innovative policies globally and has been serving as a visiting executive in-residence at Harvard University since 2015 and as a faculty member giving talks on impact and disruption at Singularity University since 2017. Dr. Bray has been an invited keynote speaker to CEOs, world leaders, and crowds of more than 3,000 participants. This includes events in India, Vietnam, Australia, Taiwan, Dubai, South Africa, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Responsible for shaping Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina's strategy, evaluating partnerships and improving consumer experience. Before joining Blue Cross, former Partner, McKinsey & Company. A native of Zimbabwe, began McKinsey career by providing strategic and operational counsel to a wide variety of clients across Europe and Africa. 2011, relocated to the US and advised chief executive officers and state leaders on improving systems of care and transforming payment models. Rhodes Scholar; MPhil in International Development, University of Oxford, UK.
Akira Kirton is a purpose & values driven leader, with a huge passion for diversity and sustainability. He has spent his career working in the chemicals & energy manufacturing sectors - in both commercial/operational & business development/innovation roles.
Akira is Vice President of Global Acetyls. In this role, he has full commercial & operational accountability for Acetyls Globally (~$2.5bn business). His business is at the forefront of fighting CV-19, with product sales going into key sectors such as pharmaceuticals (ibuprofen, paracetamol, insulin) and powder detergents. Akira has accountability for 9 operational sites across US, Europe & Asia (Korea, Malaysia, & 6 China JV's).
Prior to this role, Akira was Commercial Director for the European Acetyls business. In this role, Akira led on programmes in sustainability, agile, and digital for the business – particular Zero-Carbon Humber, WEF Low Carbon Chemicals Biomass Group, and Acetylated Wood (Tricoya). Akira is bp's Board Director for Tricoya Technologies (sustainable wood production), having structured & led the investment/spin-out from Accsys plc in 2014/15.
Across 2012-17, Akira was Managing Director for bp Ventures Europe & Asia, growing the portfolio to $500m capital invested, having led a number of game-changing deals in green manufacturing, CO2 to chemicals, mobility & digital. Akira was Portfolio Director & Board Director for the green manufacturing sector, with board roles with Fulcrum Bioenergy (waste to biojet), Solidia (low carbon cement/concrete products), Tricoya (acetylated wood), Liquid Light (CO2 to chemicals), CarbonFree Chemicals (CO2 to bicarbonates), StoreDot (ultra-fast charging batteries); and originated and led the structuring for the OGCI CI ($1bn climate fund).
Akira has experience in the public sector and was seconded to the UK Energy Technologies Institute ($1b UK Gov backed climate change/sustainability fund) for three years. He sat on the UK Chief Scientific Advisor’s Group on Bioenergy and was Director for Strategy for Biomass and Distributed Energy; developing the priorities to 2050 for >$1trn in investment focus.
Prior to this, Akira worked globally in business development roles, engineering, and technology roles in Chemicals, Fuels, and Trading for both bp & Ineos.
External Profile: Akira has been recognised as #4 Rising Star (out of 10,000) by Global Corporate Venturing in 2018; a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2015-20); A Fellow of the Marshall Memorial Foundation 2012; and a 2008 IChemE Award for Innovation.
On a pro-bono basis, Akira is a Trustee of #iamthecode: A UN HCR & WEF YGL backed global charity focussed on providing STEM skills/digital skills to underprivileged young women/girls, targeting 1m by 2030. Akira sits on the board of trustees with Founder/CEO Marieme Jamme (#Truly Inspirational), Kelly Buchanon (YGL), and Patron - Christoper Schlaeffer (YGL) - with strong support from Unilever, UBS, Salesforce, AliBaba, Coursera and more....
Executive Director, Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California; research explores how religions change and make change in the world. Leading voice working to enhance religious pluralism and community resilience. Advises foundations and government agencies on effective strategies for effective partnership and engagement. Co-Founder and Senior Adviser, American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute; Implementing Partner, United State Institute of Peace’s Generation Change programme, training emerging leaders committed to peace-building from the Middle East, Africa and South America. Member, Pacific Council on International Policy. Term Member, Council on Foreign Relations. Truman National Security Fellow. German Marshall Memorial Foundation Fellow. Homegrown Violent Extremism Study Group Associate, USC. Member of the board of several non-profit organizations and government bodies working at the intersections of religion and public life.
Adebola Williams is a pioneer at the intersection of media, democracy and social change. He is co-founder and chief executive officer of RED, which owns Africa’s largest portfolio of youth media brands that engages millions of youths on the continent, including Red Media Africa, StateCraft, the Future Awards Africa, and YNaija.com. Williams co-founded EnoughisEnough (EiE) in 2010, one of Nigeria’s foremost civic participation groups and a voice for young people on politics. He was chairman of the board until resigning to take the lead on the communication and rebranding of the current Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari In 2014. Williams led the team that shaped the national discourse and optimized media engagement to change longstanding perceptions. He did the same in Ghana in 2016, helping the opposition candidate win the presidency on his third attempt. He and is team have recently concluded the Macky Sall campaign with a big win in February 2019.Williams consults in other regions in the continent.
As Chief Executive Officer, PZU, a leading insurance company in Poland with operations in five countries, heads Central Eastern Europe's biggest financial group. Chairman, Pekao, Poland's second largest bank. Has led PZU to engage in an ambitious new strategy that aims to transform it into one of Europe's most innovative financial services companies with a strong accent on social responsibility. Having lived, studied and worked in Poland, Germany and France, personally committed to building stronger ties across Europe.
Kent Ho is a veteran Silicon Valley investor and innovation advocate who believes in the transformative power of technology to solve society’s greatest challenges. With his broad networks in both the US and Asia, Kent is on a mission to bring the radical thinking that defines Silicon Valley to Asia, and to connect Asia’s corporations with breakthrough technology in America.