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WEF: What are “Young global leaders”, and how are they tackling the world’s biggest challenges?

  • What are the Young Global Leaders? We hear from the Forum and from three of the ‘people with the vision, courage, and influence to drive positive change in the world’.
  • The work of those three ‘YGLs’ include investment in Africa, AI in the Middle East and journalism around the world.
  • Subscribe to Radio Davos, the podcast that looks at how we can tackle the world’s greatest challenges.

What’s the connection between Jimmy Wales, Amal Clooney, Emmanuel Macron, Jacinda Ardern and will.i.am? Answer? They’re all Young Global Leaders.

So what are ‘YGLs’ and how does being part of that group help people – with diverse backgrounds and world views – work for the greater public good?

On this episode of Radio Davos we talk to the person who leads the Forum of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum, and to three alumni who each work in very different sectors and parts of the world.

Podcast transcript

Robin Pomeroy: What’s the connection between Jimmy Wales, Amal Clooney, Emmanuel Macron, Jacinda Ardern and will.i.am? Answer? They’re all Young Global Leaders.

Wadia Ait Hamza, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders: The forum of Young Global Leaders. A dynamic community of exceptional people.

Robin Pomeroy: Welcome to Radio Davos, the podcast from the World Economic Forum that looks at the biggest challenges and how we might solve them. This week, we’re taking a look at the Young Global Leaders. Speaking to the person here at the World Economic Forum who leads the YGL programme.

Wadia Ait Hamza: When we say exceptional people, we meet that they have the vision, they have the courage, they have the influence to drive positive change.

Robin Pomeroy: We’ll hear from some of those Young Global Leaders from the world of business and investment in Africa.

Fatoumata Ba: What has drawn me to that community is to find people that are motivated everyday to wake up and to create a better society and to intrinsic positively and to be a driver of change.

Robin Pomeroy: To politics and tech policy in the Middle East.

Omar Sultan Al Olama: Being able to access a person that is a leader in this specific field willing to share with me an insight allows me to do my job better.

Robin Pomeroy: To a war reporter determined to keep important stories alive.

Lara Setrakian: I’ve been in wars that not many people are covering. And I’ve covered wars that not many people are covering. And you’re applying what you know how to do as a journalist to making sure this thing, this incident doesn’t completely fall off the human radar.

Robin Pomeroy: Subscribe to Radio Davos wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us a rating and a review and join us on the World Economic Forum Podcast Club on Facebook. I’m Robin Pomeroy at the World Economic Forum, and with this look at the Young Global Leaders.

Lara Setrakian: Being a young global leader changed my life.

Robin Pomeroy: This is Radio Davos.

Here on Radio Davos. Every week we look at the world’s biggest challenges and how we might solve them. On this episode, we’re taking a look at the World Economic Forum itself, or a part of it at least, a part called the Young Global Leaders. To tell us about that. I am joined by the person who runs that part of the World Economic Forum, Wadia Ait Hamza. Wadia, how are you?

Wadia Ait Hamza: I’m good. How are you?

Robin Pomeroy: Very well, thank you. Wadia, tell us what is, or what are Young Global Leaders.

Wadia Ait Hamza: So basically the forum of Young Global Leaders is an accelerator for dynamic community of exceptional people. And when we say exceptional people, we mean that they have the vision, they have the courage, they have the influence to drive positive change.

Today we are around 1,200 YGLs, that’s how we call them, in more than 120 countries. And we have YGLs from the business sector, educators, activists, entrepreneurs, public figures, you name it, basically they are from all walks of lives, from all over the world. And these YGLs are making a difference in their organisations, but also in their communities.

So it’s not only their day job, but they do and they step up to do more for the world. And as a collective, they are united by the belief that today’s pressing problems present an opportunity to build a better future across all our boundaries. And this is aligned with the mission of the Forum, the World Economic Forum, to seek to drive public-private cooperation in the global public interest, achieving more together than we could ever do alone.

Robin Pomeroy: So give us some idea of the history then. This has existed for quite some time, right?

Wadia Ait Hamza: Yes. It’s been existing since 2004. Exactly. When Professor [Klaus] Schwab, who’s the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, created the YGL community to help the world meet increasingly complex and interdependent problems.

His vision was to create a proactive, multi-stakeholder community of the world’s next generation of leaders to inform, influence, decision making and mobilise transformation. Basically, who are the leaders that are in their 30s that are struggling to have a seat at the table? How can we bring them to together so that they can learn from each other? Peer learning is important, but also to have a safe space for them to share their pain points. So through the work of the YGL community, Klaus Schwab really envisioned, how can we facilitate earnest dialogue, friendship across cultures so that we bridge divides and foster fresh thinking and a dynamic way of collaboration to shape more positive, peaceful and prosperous society.

How can we facilitate earnest dialogue, friendship across cultures so that we bridge divides and foster fresh thinking and a dynamic way of collaboration to shape more positive, peaceful and prosperous society?

— Wadia Ait Hamza, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders

Full article: What are Young Global Leaders, and how are they tackling the world’s biggest challenges?

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