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News Release

World Economic Forum Announces Young Global Leaders for 2012

Maxwell Hall, Senior Media Manager, Tel.: +41 (0)79 329 3500 – maxwell.hall@weforum.org

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  • The Forum has honoured 192 young leaders from 59 countries for their outstanding leadership, professional accomplishments and commitment to society
  • Of the selected young leaders, 15 are from the Middle East/North Africa
  • 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 initiatives that address specific challenges of public interest with the objective of shaping a better future

Geneva, Switzerland, 6 March 2012 – The World Economic Forum has announced its Young Global Leaders (YGLs) for 2012.

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. Past YGLs include Maria Bartiromo, Anchor, Closing Bell, and Anchor and Managing Editor, Wall Street Journal Report, CNBC, USA; David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Esther Duflo, Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA; Larry Page, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Google, USA; Zhang Xin, Chief Executive Officer, SOHO China, People's Republic of China.

For 2012, the Forum has selected 192 YGLs from 59 countries and all sectors of society (including business, civil society, social entrepreneurs, politics and government, arts and culture, and opinion and media). The new class originates from East Asia (38), South Asia (19), Europe (46), Middle East and North Africa (15), sub-Saharan Africa (18), North America (37) and Latin America (19).

“In the last few years, the world has seen the biggest recession in almost a century and we now face daunting global challenges,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “Recovery and innovation will require new, unique ideas and an environment where the best minds, ideas and leadership can thrive. The most important determinant of this will be how we use human talent. 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 I believe will address the challenges we face in a meaningful way through fresh thinking and true multistakeholder engagement.”

Drawn from a pool of several thousand candidates, the 2012 YGLs were chosen by a selection committee, chaired by H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and comprise respected international leaders from business, government and media.

The 2012 YGLs reflect different types of leadership in different parts of the world and society. Those from the Middle East/North Africa region include: Slim Amamou, Partner, Alixsys, Tunisia; Eli Beer, Founder and President, United Hatzalah of Israel, Israel; Mbarka Bouaida, Chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs and National Defense and Religious Affairs, Moroccan Parliament, RNI party, Morocco; Wael Ghonim, Head of Marketing, Middle East and North Africa, Google, Egypt; Lama Hourani (from Jordan), Founder and Creator, Lama Hourani Creations, Italy; Hilal Ahmed Lashuel (from Yemen), Associate Professor of Life Sciences, Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland; and Nisreen Shahin, Executive Director, Rawabi Foundation, Palestinian Territories.

“To be selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum is a tremendous honour, one that fills me with a great sense of responsibility,” said Sami Khoreibi, Chief Executive Officer, Enviromena Power Systems, United Arab Emirates. “I look forward to the opportunity to learn from my fellow delegates, a truly distinguished group, while sharing with them as much as I can about the causes I feel so passionate about: promoting sustainability and entrepreneurship in the Middle East.”

Another recently selected YGL from Jordan, Lama Hourani, Founder and Creator, Lama Hourani Creations, Italy, commented: “I am humbled and excited to receive this wonderful accolade. And I am very proud to be a part of such a dynamic, creative, and inspiring team of go-getters and self-starters. At this time in the Arab world, young people are hungry for opportunity; they need to be nurtured and inspired, especially in the field of culture and arts. I look forward to working with my fellow YGLs to tap the creativity and entrepreneurial talent of young Arabs everywhere, so that the world can appreciate the rich contributions of our younger generations. From a personal and artistic perspective, this is a new chapter in my own narrative and I am excited about penning it with like-minded and visionary spirits.”

The 2012 honourees will become part of the broader Forum of Young Global Leaders community that currently comprises 713 outstanding individuals. The YGLs convene at an Annual Summit, which will be held this year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on 14-18 April. YGLs are actively engaged in the community, are integrated into events organized by the World Economic Forum, and organize events of their own, as well as launch and lead their own innovative initiatives and task forces. 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.

“The YGL experience is so much more than an amazing network – it expanded my horizons intellectually and helped me grow personally,” said Iraqi YGL Mina Al-Oraibi (honoured in 2009), Assistant Editor-in-Chief, Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper, United Kingdom. “The Harvard program, YGL summits and city dinners have been the highlights, bringing together people from all walks of life, who are at the top of their field. The friendships formed and the sense of having a wider family dispersed around the world are the greatest gifts of being a YGL.”

“One of the unique aspects of the YGL Community is that it is the first generation of leaders who are truly global citizens: they have all lived, studied and worked in different countries throughout their careers,” said David Aikman, Head of The Forum of Young Global Leaders. “They see themselves as being fundamentally interconnected and have the cross-cultural leadership skills to be successful in a globalized world. Thanks to the incredible diversity of the group, they are able to collaborate across complex systems and build informal coalitions to facilitate action on the biggest challenges facing the world today. This entrepreneurial approach to public good is the best way to move the world forward. We look forward to integrating the 2012 YGLs into our discussions and initiatives.” 

Notes to Editors

More information about the Forum of Young Global Leaders at http://www.younggloballeaders.org/
List of YGLs honoured in 2012
List of the YGL community
Visit our YGL YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/yglvoices
Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/YGLvoices
Nominate a potential Young Global Leader through our website


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 (www.weforum.org).