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News Release

World Economic Forum Announces Young Global Leaders 2011

Yann Zopf, Associate Director, Tel.: +41 (0)79 329 3500 – Email:

  • The Forum has honoured 190 young leaders from 65 countries for their outstanding leadership, professional accomplishments and commitment to society.
  • Young Global Leaders are selected from a variety of sectors such as business, government, academia, media, non-profit organizations and arts and culture, and from all regions of the world.
  • Young Global Leaders engage in task forces that address specific challenges of public interest with the objective of shaping a better future.


Geneva, Switzerland – The World Economic Forum has announced its Young Global Leaders (YGLs) for 2011. The honour, bestowed each year by the Forum, recognizes up to 200 outstanding young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.

For 2011, the Forum has selected 190 Young Global Leaders from 65 countries and all sectors of society (business, civil society, social entrepreneurs, politics and government, arts and culture, and opinion and media). The new class represents all regions: East Asia (50), South Asia (18), Europe (42), Middle East and North Africa (13), sub-Saharan Africa (14), North America (37) and Latin America (16). This year’s selection has more gender balance than ever, with 44% women.

“The challenges faced by the next generation of leaders are more daunting and intractable than ever and cannot be mastered with the current set of strategies, institutions, standards and attitudes. To address these challenges in a meaningful and sustainable way requires fresh thinking, multistakeholder engagement and dynamic new ways of collaborating to develop innovative solutions that are truly global. Recognizing this need, in 2004, I created the foremost platform for young leaders to engage in global affairs to shape a more positive, peaceful and prosperous society. Within the World Economic Forum community, the Young Global Leaders represent the voice for the future and the hopes of the next generation. I am particularly proud of this year's honourees, who make up the most diverse class of YGLs ever,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

Drawn from a pool of almost 5,000 candidates, the Young Global Leaders 2011 were chosen by a selection committee chaired by H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The Young Global Leaders 2011 reflect different kinds of leadership in different parts of the world and society. They include: Max Levchin, Vice-President of Engineering, Google (from Ukraine); Alexandra Cousteau, Founder and President, Blue Legacy International (from France); Funmi Iyanda, Blogger, Journalist and Columnist (from Nigeria); Ricardo Terán, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Agora Partnerships (from Nicaragua); Kala Mulqueeny, Senior Counsel, Asian Development Bank (from Australia/Philippines); Naoko Yamazaki, Astronaut, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (from Japan); Naif Al Mutawa, Creator, THE 99 Comics (from Kuwait); Hala Gorani, Anchor, CNN International (from the United States); Zhou Xun, Actress (from People’s Republic of China); Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary (from Canada); and Chetan Maini, Deputy Chairman and Chief Technology Officer, Reva Electric Car Company (from India).

A recently selected YGL from Afghanistan, Dawood Azami, Bureau Chief, BBC World Service, reflected on his selection: “Life is a struggle and to be able to bring a positive change is very rewarding and a fulfilling thought. The YGL forum is one the best and effective platforms where ideas are shared, skills are refined and developed, and an action plan is made to bring change and make the world a better place. I am very glad to be part of such a forum, which strives to find the right solutions to the problems faced by the world today and positively impact the global agenda. I believe in a positive change, doesn't matter how small that be. I am reminded of a saying that if one leaf changes its colour, it means the tree is not the same anymore. I am sure the state of the world will be improved as a result of the sincere efforts of the YGL forum.”

Another recently selected YGL from the United States, April Rinne, Director, WaterCredit,, USA, explained her reaction: “Being named a YGL is an unparalleled opportunity to share ideas about how to improve the world with an incredibly broad, accomplished community. With this group, I hope to help amplify and disseminate things that really work – often blending for-profit and non-profit, public and private sectors – to do business and make policy in better ways.”

The 2011 honourees will become part of the broader Forum of Young Global Leaders community that currently comprises 668 outstanding individuals. The YGLs convene at an Annual Summit, which will be held this year in Dalian, People’s Republic of China on 12-16 September. Young Global Leaders are actively engaged in the community, integrating into events organized by the World Economic Forum and organizing events of their own, as well as launching and leading a number of innovative initiatives and task forces. See for a list of YGL initiatives. These activities enable YGLs to learn from and with each other; build knowledge and engender a better understanding of global challenges and trends, risks and opportunities; and further enhance their unique role as leaders within their own organizations, the World Economic Forum and the broader global community.

“We are very pleased to welcome the new cohort of Young Global Leaders into our community and encourage them to embrace the opportunity fully. The YGL community helps its members make the transition – as one YGL told me – ‘from success to significance’ and strives to move from a collection of successful individuals to a community of collective impact. YGLs hold each other accountable to a higher standard of global leadership in their professional and personal lives, so it really is about making the world a better place, one leader at a time,” said David Aikman, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders.


Notes to Editors
More information about the Forum of Young Global Leaders at
List of YGLs honoured in 2011
List of the YGL community
Visit our YGL YouTube channel at
Follow us on Twitter at
Nominate a potential Young Global Leader through our website


About the Forum of Young Global Leaders
Established in 2004 by Professor Klaus Schwab, the Forum of Young Global Leaders is a unique, multistakeholder community of the world’s most extraordinary young leaders who dedicate a part of their time to jointly address global challenges and who are committed to devote part of their knowledge and energy to collectively work towards a better future. Together the Young Global Leaders work to discover innovative solutions to today’s most pressing problems through various initiatives and workstreams, as well as catalysing the next generation of leaders.


The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is tied to no political, partisan or national interests.

The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (