Connecting the most outstanding young leaders

Nearly 900 young leaders are working together to improve the state of the world.

The challenge

Countless young leaders are making enormous contributions in tackling the world’s most complex challenges. They can achieve more if they work together.

The strategy

The Forum of Young Global Leaders (YGLs) brings together enterprising, socially minded men and women under the age of 40, who work together to address some of the world’s most complex challenges. The goal of the community is two-fold: to create experiences and programmes for talented young leaders, which enhance their skills and broaden their views of the world, and to use their energy and creativity as a force for social good.

Since 2004, the World Economic Forum has carried out an extensive annual search for young leaders to join a community comprising people from all walks of life, every stakeholder group in society and all regions of the world. These young people are already excelling in their respective fields and demonstrating their commitment to serving society at large. More than one-half of the Class of 2017 were women.

YGLs embark on a five-year programme, using their talents, experiences and networks to address various initiatives of global significance.

The impact

By 2016, 18 formal YGL initiatives had reached maturity, with most established as independent NGOs. Examples include:

Reducing the carbon footprint of cities

De-Carbonathon helps inspiring start-ups reduce the carbon footprint of our cities. A series of prizes help the best solutions to the adverse effects of climate change grow through incubation funding and support.

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Helping women become digital leaders

IAMTHECODE is an African-led, global movement to ensure 1 million women and girls learn to code, find jobs, and become digital leaders by 2030.

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Building the capacity of refugees to rebuild Syria

Irada identifies talented refugees and helps them attend world-learning universities through scholarships. In return, it asks students to commit to finding future opportunities to rebuild Syria.

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Table for Two
Righting the malnutrition/obesity imbalance

Table for Two seeks to right an imbalance that sees 1 billion people suffering from malnutrition, while another 1 billion suffer from obesity. The partnership with over 700 corporations, universities, restaurants and organizations encourages people on one side to eat healthier meals, while raising funds to provide nutritious school meals to vulnerable children.

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The YGLs are evenly split between business and non-profits. The Class of 2016 features:

Farida Bedwei, the co-founder of Logiciel, is one of the top software engineers in Ghana. Bedwei is considered one of the most powerful women in financial technology in Africa. Born with cerebral palsy, she helps to change the lives of disabled people and women living on the continent.

Roland G. Fryer, a Harvard University professor and director of its Education Innovation Laboratory. Fryer is a nationally respected authority on education, race and inequality in the US and the youngest African-American to attain tenure at Harvard.

Chih-Han Yu, an artificial intelligence researcher and chief executive of Appier, one of Taiwan’s most promising start-ups. His innovations include a "brain" for self-driving cars, a robotic dog and transformer robots.

Emmanuel Macron, the President of France.

Nina Tandon, the founder of the world’s first company that grows living human bones for skeletal reconstruction.