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.

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Meet our members

Eva Maydell

Member of the European Parliament, European Parliament, Belgium

Eva Maydell is a Member of the European Parliament and President of European Movement International, the largest organisation of associations and civil societies in Europe.

Maydell´s policy priorities include innovation and the use of new technologies as well as supporting entrepreneurs and sustainable investments in Europe. In the European Parliament, she is a member of the Industry and Economic Affairs Committees, Vice-Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Japan and member of the Delegation for Relations with the U.S.

MEP Maydell is the EPP Group Rapporteur on the Chips Act and the rapporteur on the Chips Joint Undertaking, a massive new planned EU public-private partnership for microchips. MEP Maydell is also the lead rapporteur in the Industry Committee on the AI Act, the first-ever general law on Artificial Intelligence, as well as the EPP Group rapporteur on the NIS 2 Directive on cybersecurity.

Eva Maydell is a Board Member for World Economic Forum’s Digital Europe program and a member of the WEF Global Future Council of Europe. Maydell has been awarded the European Parliament's MEP of the Year Award twice and has been featured in FT's 'New Europe 100' ranking of CEE's emerging change-makers, European Forbes' 30 Under 30 list, POLITICO’s 40 most influential MEPs and “POLITICO 28” list of people who shape Europe.

Jessica Jackson

Chief Advocacy Officer, Reform Alliance, USA

Jessica Jackson’s quest for justice began in a Georgia courtroom. The high-school dropout held her two-month-old daughter and watched helplessly as her husband was sentenced to six years in prison. In that moment, she decided to turn her shock into a crusade to change the justice system. As a single mother, she graduated college and law school. Today she is a leader in the bipartisan movement to end excessive incarceration. Jessica’s specialty is bringing political rivals together to pass bills considered “impossible.” As the bill’s main advocate, she led the drive to pass 2018’s “First Step Act.” The New York Times called the law “the most substantial justice reform in a generation;” it has already helped free more than 16,000 people. While leading her national initiative, #cut50, Jessica helped ban the shackling of jailed pregnant women in 14 states. Her “Dignity for Incarcerated Women” campaign enlisted formerly incarcerated women and dozens of celebrities to deepen the focus on women’s issues. At the helm of #cut50, Jessica built the biggest national grassroots network for bipartisan reform, #cut50’s Empathy Network. Jessica has led not only on the national level, but was also elected the youngest-ever Mayor of Mill Valley, California where she focused on affordable housing. Today, she now helps lead the REFORM Alliance, an organization where she is continuing her work to end mass incarceration and mass supervision. Jessica continues to take clemency cases as well, working on both the federal and state level to secure a second chance for individuals who have lengthy prison sentences. Jessica turned her hopelessness into hope for millions.

Juan Carlos Rincón

Editor of the Opinion Section, El Espectador, Colombia

Juan Carlos Rincón is an Opinion Editor at El Espectador, Colombia's oldest and most respected newspaper. He also a Co-Founder of YouTube channel La Pulla, a political opinion show he runs with four fellow journalists. In 2016, the La Pulla team received the Simón Bolivar National Prize, the country’s most prestigious journalism award, for a video championing the right of same-sex couples to adopt children. Rincón also co-founded other digital projects, including Las Igualadas and La Puesverdad, which have helped change the media landscape in Colombia and Latin America by merging more traditional journalism with new formats and digital languages.

Martín Guzmán

Former Minister of Economy of Argentina, Ministry of Economy of Argentina, Argentina

Martín Guzmán was born in La Plata on October 12th, 1982. He has graduated as a Doctor in Economics (PhD. in Economics) from Brown University, United States. Prior to his doctoral studies, he obtained a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's degree in Economics, both from Universidad Nacional de La Plata (National University of La Plata), Argentina. He is a researcher at the Columbia University School of Business, and Director of the Public Debt Restructuring Program of the Policy Dialogue Initiative of the same School. Together with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, he has conducted the academic training program of the Columbia University Initiative for Policy Dialogue. He is an associate professor at Facultad de Ciencias Económicas de la Universidad de Buenos Aires (Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires). As of December 2019, he is a tenured lecturer at Facultad de Ciencias Económicas de la Universidad de La Plata (School of Economic Sciences of the National University of La Plata). He is editor in chief of the Journal of Globalization and Development and has published numerous academic articles in specialized journals and books.

Sarah Chen-Spellings

Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Beyond The Billion (launched as The Billion Dollar Fund for Women), USA

Based in Washington DC, investor & entrepreneur Sarah Chen is Co-Founder of Beyond The Billion (launched as The Billion Dollar Fund for Women), a global consortium of over 100 venture funds and limited partner investors that have pledged to invest beyond $1B towards women-founded companies. To date, the consortium has deployed $638M and counting into close to 800 female-founded companies, of which 11 were recognized as unicorns. Previously, she was on the pioneer team of a corporate venture capital unit within a $13B publicly traded Asian conglomerate, investing in later-stage biotechnology companies. Since then, she has been at the forefront of multi-million cross border investments, structuring and executing commercialization plans with her portfolio companies.

Determined to see more women at the helm, she sits on multiple boards, including 131 & Counting, a bipartisan effort to fete the unprecedented number of women serving in the House and Senate, encouraging more women to run for office in the US; and Lean In Malaysia, which she co-founded, a platform accelerating women into leadership in Muslim- majority Malaysia. Named Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and Forbes Under 30 VC, Chen is a recognized speaker, strategist and commentator on venture capital, startups and women in leadership, having been featured on Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg, Der Spiegel and at the United Nations, and is a celebrated host on the show and podcast #BillionDollarMoves backed by the Hubspot Podcast Network. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Laws, LL.B (Hons.) from King’s College London.

To find out more: www.beyondthebillion.com
@sarahchenglobal on all handles; www.sarah-chen.com

Ricardo Weder

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, JUSTO, INC., Mexico

Ricardo Weder is an entrepreneur and promoter of the tech ecosystem in Mexico and Latin America. Today, Ricardo is Founder and CEO of Justo, the first online pure play supermarket in Mexico and a pioneer in LATAM, with the vision of transforming positively the food and consumer goods industry in Latin America. Previously, Ricardo was Global President of Cabify, where he was a key person in the growth of the company. Ricardo led the operations and expansion of the company from early-stage startup to a unicorn with a valuation of US$1.4b and presence throughout Iberia and Latin America. Over his professional career, Ricardo also worked in financial institutions like HSBC, JPMorgan and PWC. As entrepreneur he has founded several startups in the financial, real estate and consumer services industries. Furthermore, Ricardo has been university professor and is an independent board member of Principal Financial Group in Mexico. He is also part of the WEF expert network and was invited as founding member of the WEF Global Vanguard community. He is an angel investor and partner of OBS.mx, VC capital fund and an Endeavour entrepreneur. Ricardo was born in Mexico City, he is an Industrial Engineer from ITESM and holds an MBA from the University of Mannheim in Germany. During his master’s degree he spent time in the University of CUHK in Hong Kong. Lastly, he obtained a certificate in Innovation and Growth from Endeavor at Stanford University.

Eva Otieno

Africa Strategist, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Ltd, Kenya

Eva Otieno is a connector between governments and institutional investors to channel much needed capital into Africa. As a strategist, she discusses Africa-focused market opportunities in order to attract financial flows into the region's local currency and hard currency fixed-income securities. Otieno has led roadshows in the region with investors that have combined assets under management of an estimated $50 billion, which is substantial capital that is seeking for robust returns in frontier Africa. Otieno also participates in thought leadership and media events through providing market insights where solutions are deliberated on how to attract capital into the region. In her role, she also engages with policy-makers to discuss solutions in fixed-income markets. Eva also engages with corporate clients where she provides market insights. This information assists the clients in making decisions as to which country to invest in bringing much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Ilwad Elman

Chief Operating Officer, Elman Peace Centre, Canada

Ilwad Elman a young female leader at the forefront of the Somali peace process, and a global authority on peace and security.
After the assassination of her father, a prominent Somali peace activist, Ilwad and her family became refugees, eventually finding asylum in Canada. Aged 19, she felt the responsibility to leave the safety of Canada and return with her mother to a Somalia still steeped in violent conflict, where they 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 labeled as terrorist organizations 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 written 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 Member 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. Steering Committee member on the Every Woman Treaty for ending violence against women. Commissioner and lead convener on Youth, Peace, Security on the Principles for Peace.

One Young World Ambassador to Somalia since 2013. 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

Avital Saskia Niño de Rivera Cover

Co-Founder and Spokeswoman, Reinserta -Un Mexico A.C-, Mexico

Saskia is a Mexican-American national. She has a Master’s in Human Rights and Fundamental Principles and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She is the President of the non-profit organization Reinserta, which she founded when she was 24 years old, in order to fight for a safer Mexico through its penitentiary system. Previously, she worked at the National Anti-Kidnap Coordination of the Mexican Secretariat of Government. In 2015, she led the creation of the “maternity in prison” section of the Criminal Execution Law, and was invited to create and work for the Social Responsibility Agenda 2015-2016. In 2014, Saskia participated in a number of workshops for the Mexican criminal system reform. Saskia was selected as a Mexican leader of the women’ s first generation of Raising Talent Women’ s Forum and as one of the 3,000 Ashoka Fellows. She was nominated for the Nelson Mandela – Graça Machel Innovation Awards 2016 and was named “Next Generation Leader” by Time Magazine. She was awarded with the UBS Visionaries 2016 prize, is recognized by Global Shapers and Women’ s Forum Rising Talent México, and is a Vital Voices Ambassador as of 2016. She received an American School Foundation Leadership award in 2006, was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2015, was named a Next Generation Leaders by TIME Magazine in 2015, and was selected by FORBES Magazine in 2016 as one of the TOP 100 powerful women. Saskia was selected as a 2019 Global Leadership Award Honoree and a VVLead Ambassador. Saskia works within the prisons and the country’s most dangerous neighborhoods in order to change the extremely rough environments that funnel Mexicans into crime.