YGL Class of 2014 Graduation

This August, leading global companies stated an intention to invest in “healthy environmental and economic opportunity” for all at the Business Roundtable. While the world watches closely to see how this statement informs reality, one thing is clear: We have been waiting for this philosophy on leadership and the stakeholder approach for some time.

Now is the time to invest in leaders who can drive changes towards a sustainable and just world. With nearly weekly ethical scandals reported in the news, the public is hungry for leaders it can stand behind – those who engender a strong sense of trust in institutions and build a sense of community.

The Forum of Young Global Leaders operates a five-year leadership programme that supports accomplished young people under 40 to revitalize our faith in leaders. Each programme element is designed to bring these exceptional leaders into contact with new ideas, people and environments that expand their perspectives and capabilities. Ultimately, they confront new possibilities that open their minds and expose them to more nuanced approaches to action. Eighty percent of Young Global Leaders feel that their professional and personal development have been enriched over the course of the programme, which inspires them to be more driven, globally aware, empathetic, and sensitive to challenges around the world.

As we celebrate the graduation of the YGL Class of 2014 this weekend, we are hopeful about their impact on an increasingly fractured world.

In an era of polarization and quick reaction, YGLs are at the forefront of reinforcing civil and measured dialogue in the geopolitical realm. Jacinda Arden’s response to the mass shootings at a mosque in ChristChurch, New Zealand, demonstrated the power of empathetic and responsive leadership to the world. Meanwhile, Daniella Ballou-Aares founded the Leadership Now Project, an organization of business professionals committed to renewing American democracy, working on bipartisan issues related to protecting democratic principles. Renée-Maria Tremblay, Senior Counsel to the Supreme Court of Canada, drew support from the YGL Community to help advise the International Criminal Court on the world’s first trial against the use of child soldiers, which will serve as a precedent to courts globally. During her five-year YGL experience, Rania Al-Mashat became the Minister of Tourism of Egypt, focused on shifting the country towards sustainable tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

YGLs are also at the forefront of expanding opportunities for economic participation and trade globally. Based on a book he wrote with Eric Kacou, the CEO of Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESPartners), Hassan El-Houry, the CEO of National Aviation Services (NAS) in Kuwait, has invested his company’s efforts into fortifying the aviation industry in Africa. His commitment to public private partnerships will help promote commercial and cultural connections across the continent and the world.

They are also mobilizing across sectors on critical issues related to the global commons. Nina Jensen, who started her YGL experience as the head of the World Wildlife Fund in Norway, took up a challenge in 2018 to lead the development of the world’s largest oceans research and expedition vessel as CEO of REV Ocean. In this role, Nina is bringing together scientists, NGOs, policy makers, innovators, engineers and marine stakeholders scientists, policy makers, innovators, engineers and marine stakeholder to forge important action to protect oceans. Her work reflects that of many YGLs – driving multi-stakeholder action to address a pressing and complex global challenge.

We celebrate those completing from the programme from the Class of 2014, who have boldly contributed to the global leadership. As they are welcomed into the YGL Alumni Community to enter a new phase of their leadership development, we look forward to seeing how their contributions to the world continue to unfold. We are counting on their example to inspire many generations of ethical and responsible leaders to come.