Monday 05 March 2018
  • The British Council seeks exceptional leaders aged 18-35 to join a nine-day workshop to learn from global policy experts and inspirational leaders.

The search is on for Northern Ireland’s new generation of leaders.

Applications are now open for Future Leaders Connect, a British Council programme out to find exceptional individuals from across the UK and the world – to discuss the most significant global issues facing the next generation.

This opportunity will offer nine days of leadership learning and development for those aged 18-35, to provide them with the skills they need to turn innovative ideas in to tangible policy recommendations, culminating in a series of exclusive workshops and meetings in the Houses of Parliament.

The program will give 50 young high achievers the chance to meet and learn from heads of NGOs, policy-makers and MPs, as well as interact with participants from Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia, Canada, USA and the rest of the UK.

Thirty candidates will be shortlisted from across the UK, including two from Northern Ireland. 

Last year’s participants, including Katherine McCloskey, a Public Affairs and Policy Co-ordinator at NIACRO, and Jonathan Buckley, a MLA for Upper Bann, presented their policy ideas at 10 Downing Street, had meetings at the BBC and the Houses of Parliament and discussed global challenges with former heads of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan.

During the programme they took part in seminars on policy-making and leadership skills, learning the techniques that affect real change and became part of a global alumni network.

As part of this alumni network, Katherine will take part in a Policy Incubator event in Mexico City this week (March  7-9), where she will build on her knowledge and skills on migration policy with other emerging leaders from the UK, Mexico and the USA. 

Speaking about the value of taking part in Future Leaders Connect, Katherine said:

“Future Leaders Connect has provided me with a global platform to share the policy work being done here in Northern Ireland in relation to mental health and criminal justice with other policy leaders from across the world. I now have a trusted group of peers who I can share ideas with, debate local and global policy, and a pool of experts to garner support for my key policy priorities. 

“The Programme and the continued communication between participants has given me the opportunity to critically evaluate my thinking about my policy vision and has opened my eyes to new and emerging policy practice and trends. There is so much more to Future Leaders Connect than the nine-day Programme, it is a continuous network for learning and development with other like-minded policy leaders.”

This year’s applicants will be asked what their unique policy ideas are and why they have what it takes to be a global leader.  Applications must be submitted online before Sunday 13 May 2018 23.59 (UK time) via 

Jonathan Stewart, Acting Director, British Council Northern Ireland, said: “We are looking for high achieving, motivated candidates to join our growing network of future leaders.

“Through Future Leaders Connect we hope to bring together the next generation of world leaders and help them understand the practical nature of policy-making, unravel the mysteries of leadership and develop friendships and contacts with counterparts around the world.”

The programme will take future leaders to Cambridge and London in October, with costs covered by the British Council.

Future Leaders Connect is a long-term project to create a community of emerging leaders from around the world who have spent time in the UK developing their capacity to be effective policy leaders, and have a connection with the UK’s culture and institutions. 

Join the conversation online using #FutureLeadersConnect. For more information on British Council Northern Ireland visit 

Notes to Editor

For further information, please contact:

Claire McAuley, Communications Manager, T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Twitter: @BCouncil_NI or Facebook (


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.