Tuesday 12 March 2019


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 give two young leaders from Northern Ireland the chance to join a global network and take part in ten days of leadership and policy training, culminating in a series of exclusive workshops, mentoring and meetings in the UK Houses of Parliament.

Participants in previous years presented their policy ideas at 10 Downing Street, had meetings at the BBC and the UK Houses of Parliament, and discussed global challenges with former United Nations Secretary Generals. 

The programme includes seminars on policy-making and leadership skills, to help young people learn techniques that affect real change. 

The British Council programme is open to applicants from Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia, Poland, UK and the USA, aged 18-35. Thirty candidates will be shortlisted from across the UK, including  two from Northern Ireland. 

Last year’s participants, included Joe Devlin, a Senior Market Analyst at Viridian Group and Laura McNamee, a Policy & Public Affairs Officer and Practitioner Support Officer at Housing Rights, with Joe taking part in a debate with the Elders, an independent group of world leaders founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007, working together for peace, justice and human rights. 

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

“Participating in Future Leaders Connect has given me direct insight into how the world works, what questions I need to ask of myself and others to achieve my policy vision - but most importantly, the mind-set- to go do it.

“The global network you gain from the programme is phenomenal, the exposure to senior decision makers is unparalleled and having friends in 13 countries I’ve never visited is the icing on the cake.”

Also speaking about the programme was Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland. He said: “This is an amazing opportunity for emerging young leaders and policy makers in Northern Ireland. It’s a chance to meet inspirational young people from all around the world and participate in leadership training and interactive workshops run by some of our top leaders.

“The participants learn so much from the programme itself, but in addition they learn from each other and about the lives of people in other countries. It’s a fantastic collective experience that encourages future leaders to have a global outlook to the challenges they may face in a wide range of fields from climate change to education reform.”

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

Applicants need to explain what their unique policy ideas are and why they have what it takes to be a global leader. 

Applications must be submitted online before Monday 6 May 2019 23.59 (UK time) via www.britishcouncil.org/future-leaders-connect 

This year, all applicants, whether successful or not, will have the opportunity to take part in a free online version of the Future Leaders Connect course in a specially-designed British Council MOOC which will launch in June. 

Future Leaders Connect is the British Council’s long-term global network of emerging policy leaders. It identifies exceptional young leaders through a vigorous application process, where they demonstrate their potential to make substantial change in their countries and beyond. 

Join the conversation online using #FutureLeadersConnect. For more information on British Council Northern Ireland visit http://nireland.britishcouncil.org 

Notes to Editor

For further information please contact: 

Claire McAuley, Communications Manager: T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Claire.McAuley@britishcouncil.org Twitter: @BCouncil_NI, Facebook – www.facebook.com/britishcouncilnorthernireland 

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. britishcouncil.org

See also