18th March, 2015: What do a doctor, the youngest female mayor in UK and an Afghan entrepreneur have in common? They are young leaders who are gradually changing their nation’s industries, politics and society. Entrepreneurial and optimistic, they are set to lead the next generation of global leadership and so each year the World Economic Forum welcomes a new group of exceptional individuals under the age of 40 into our Young Global Leaders (YGL) community.
Current and former YGLs head governments and Fortune 500 companies, win Nobel Prizes and Academy Awards, become UN Goodwill Ambassadors and Social Entrepreneurs. They link cultures and have the skills to achieve success in private, public and civil society organizations. The YGL community is the platform for resolving the worldâ€™s challenges. YGL interactions have led to initiatives such as Tau Investment, The Circulars and Deworm the World.
This yearâ€™s class of 187 YGLs is evenly divided between business and non-profit sectors, the non-profit sectors also includes science and technology, arts and culture, civil society, policy and government, media and social entrepreneurs.
Women are targeted and focused in this yearâ€™s class, and with half the intake coming from emerging economies, the worldâ€™s future leadership is attracting gender and geography. Alongside 44 selected from North America and 39 from Europe, the YGL class of 2015 includes 23 YGLs from East Asia, 19 from South Asia, 17 from Greater China, 17 from sub-Saharan Africa, 15 from the Middle East and North Africa, and 13 from Latin America.
From an Afghan tech entrepreneur to Indiaâ€™s youngest cabinet member
The class includes Afghan tech entrepreneur Roya Mahboob, whose classrooms are bringing more than 160,000 of her young countrywomen together to the face of the world, and Mumbai-born Ashish Goyal, who lost his seeing ability by the age of 22 has became the first blind person to gain a Wharton MBA and trade on Wall Street.
From the political world are Smriti Irani, the youngest member of Indiaâ€™s cabinet; Safak Pavey, the first disabled woman elected to the Turkish parliament; and UKâ€™s youngest female mayor, Rosie Corrigan. Leaders from civil society include Mamadou Toure, who heads the advocacy group Africa 2.0.
From the world of business, the class of 2015 includes Xiaomi vice-president Hugo Barra, Kickstarterâ€™s 35-year-old CEO Yancey Strickler, New Zealand software entrepreneur Victoria Ransom â€“ whose company Wildfire was bought by Google for $350 million â€“ and Elizabeth Holmes, who dropped out of university to found blood analytics company Theranos, which now has a valuation of around $9 billion.
The class of 2015 also includes scientists, such as infertility pioneer Michelle Dipp and eye health researcher Andrew Bastawrous; sports personalities such as Chinaâ€™s tennis champion Li Na; artists, including Daan Roosegaarde, creator of the worldâ€™s first photoluminescent bicycle path; and cutting-edge South African architect Mokena Makeka.
I am optimistic that these fresh Young Global Leaders along with those before them, will create a suitable environment in the community to be efficient and challenge the circumstances with experience that will develop their vision for this world and shape their approach to leadership in their fields.