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Young, Gifted and Empowered to Act – World Economic Forum Initiative Led by ‘Millennials’ Reaches 200 Cities Worldwide

Maxwell Hall, Senior Media Manager: Tel.: +41(0)79 329 3500, E-mail:

  • More than 1,500 young entrepreneurs, academics and activists have committed to shaping their communities in 200 cities worldwide.
  • As part of their role in shaping the global agenda, a group of 50 Global Shapers will join a conversation with world leaders at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.
  • Global Shapers are 20 to 30 years of age and represent the future of leadership. For more information about the community or to apply to become a Global Shaper, visit

Switzerland, 6 December 2012 – The Global Shapers Community, a major initiative launched by the World Economic Forum to engage young people to deliver local and global change, today reached 200 cities worldwide.

The latest Hub, which opened in Bujumbura, Burundi, brings the number of young people that are part of the Global Shapers Community to over 1,500 worldwide. This includes 58 Hubs in Africa and the Middle East, 54 in the Americas, 48 in Asia (including 17 in China and six in India) and 40 in Europe and Central Asia.

Engaged by the World Economic Forum as “active agents of change”, Global Shaper Hubs are developed and led by entrepreneurial “millennials” between 20 and 30 years old. Each Hub is required to undertake a project that positively impacts the local community in which the Hub is located, and to participate in a global conversation with world leaders to shape the future. In this way, it is expected that young people are fully involved in local and global decision-making that affects their generation.

The Shapers have made extraordinary progress since the network’s launch in 2011. Already at the international level, nine Shapers sit on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils, the largest brainstorming network of world-class academics and thought leaders. Over 300 Shapers have already participated in summits hosted by the Forum, including the closing plenary session of the Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters 2012. This January, a delegation of no fewer than 50 Global Shapers from around the world will be meeting world leaders in Davos-Klosters.

“A new global dynamic is emerging.  More than 50% of the world’s population is under the age of 27, the majority live in urban areas and this generation has the passion, dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit to shape the future.  Engaging youth in a purposeful conversation locally, regionally and globally, is therefore very necessary in tackling the world’s most pressing problems,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.  

At the city level, Shapers are already engaged in grassroots projects across the world:

  • In Santiago, Chile, the Shapers organized a broadcast debate focusing on youth issues with the country’s presidential candidates.
  • In Manila, the Philippines, Shapers are working on a project to open 200 public libraries.
  • In New York, USA, Shapers have been involved in relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy.
  • In Bamako, Mali, the Hub has been supporting marginalized communities, including an orphanage for children under seven.
  • In Caracas, Venezuela, the Hub is working with mothers of gang members to reduce violence through facilitation and mediation training.
  • The Tunis Hub in Tunisia is working on sustainable funding for a school for handicapped children, a report on how each political party engages youth in politics, and a cultural events outreach programme.
  • In Kiev, Ukraine, the Hub is helping students learn practical job market skills through a network of organizations that provide internships.

“It’s wrong to talk about young people as a ‘problem’ when, in fact, they are a tremendous source of ideas and solutions that can help to restore economic growth, address social injustice and create sustainable change on everything from gender parity to climate change. We would like to think the Shapers network recognizes this and, importantly, gives them a seat at the table with decision-makers, whether at the global level or in Bamako, New York or anywhere else in the world,” said David Aikman, Head of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum.

What is the Global Shapers Community?

What do Global Shapers do?

The Global Shapers Community is supported by The Coca-Cola Company, DST Global Advisors and Reliance Industries.

Notes to Editors

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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.

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