Tuesday 28 March 2017


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

The British Council has launched Future Leaders Connect, a 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 new 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 conference in the Houses of Parliament.

Those taking part will 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 and the rest of the UK.

Thirty candidates will be shortlisted from across the UK and two finalists from each region will be awarded a place as part of Future Leaders Connect. Five local events held in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester will decide the winners. 

In Belfast, the event, which is in partnership with Belfast City Council, will take place at Belfast City Hall on May 30 – with those shortlisted expected to present their policy to a panel of experts. The winners of this heat will go forward to London in October -  for an intensive nine-day policy and leadership training and join a world-wide leadership network, which is set to grow annually.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Brian Kingston, said: “We’re honoured Belfast City Hall has been chosen to host the regional final of the Future Leaders Connect programme - where the next generation of leaders in Northern Ireland will be selected.

“Belfast has a wealth of young talent emerging in all fields, including, as future leaders. The two exceptional individuals, chosen in the regional final on May 30, will not only represent NI in discussing significant global issues that affect them but will also put Belfast and Northern Ireland on the international map by promoting the region to the world.”

Jonathan Stewart, Deputy Director, British Council Northern Ireland, said: “An international outlook is vital for the future leaders of all countries, if they wish to overcome the challenges they will face.

 “Through Future Leaders Connect the British Council will help a new generation to understand practical policy development by putting them in contact with the leaders of today. The programme will help them to develop the skills and international contacts they need to make positive change in their countries.”

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.

British Council research (Trust Pays) has found that: “Those who have had involvement in cultural relations – arts, education and English language activities – with the UK have great trust in people from the UK.”

Further research by the British Council’s Higher Education Policy Unit found 55 current world leaders, covering one in four countries, were educated in the UK.

Anyone who would like to take part needs to submit an online application by 23.59 Sunday 14 May. They will be asked what their unique policy ideas are and their experience as a leader. http://nireland.britishcouncil.org 

Those shortlisted must be free on May 30 for the event at Belfast City Hall, then those who are successful will take part in the policy and leadership development training from 18- 27 October 2017.

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

British Council Northern Ireland creates international opportunities for the people of Northern Ireland and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.  A quarter of our funding comes from a UK government grant, and we earn the rest from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for, and from partnerships. For more information, please visit: http://nireland.britishcouncil.org