Behind the Scenes: Emerging Leaders

Behind the Scenes:
Emerging Leaders
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What is an Emerging Leader?

Each year, the Council selects high potential leaders from across Chicago’s business, cultural, civic, and academic sectors to participate in its Emerging Leaders Program. But what does it mean to be an Emerging Leader? Get a behind-the-scenes look in this interactive snapshot.

“The world is only getting smaller and more connected. Today’s leaders need a global perspective to succeed. The Emerging Leaders Program selects the best and brightest in the city and empowers them to shape our shared global future.”

Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder
President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs


Now in its 10th year, the Emerging Leaders Program brings together a highly select, diverse group of rising leaders from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to help them bring advanced global thinking, insights, and connections back to their organizations, and become part of the fabric that makes Chicago a leading global city.

Emerging Leaders are between the ages of 30 to 40. They have a strong interest in global affairs, a commitment to community engagement, and a thirst for knowledge that will drive their completion of a policy project.

Emerging Leaders develop their understanding of global leadership and policy through a thought-provoking year of dialogue, global skills trainings, exposure to global leaders, site visits, special events, and opportunities to become part of Chicago’s global network.

With unlimited access to Council programming and exclusive engagement opportunities, Emerging Leaders can hear directly from world influencers and top thinkers on issues such as the global economy, international diplomacy, energy, and the environment.

Emerging Leaders will be directly briefed by Council experts and thought leaders on a wide range of some of the most pressing global issues.

The Emerging Leaders Program offers an opportunity for organizations across Chicago to support the Council in developing the global acumen, ability, and network of its high potential leaders. The participation fee is $15,000 for corporate/private sector participants and $5,000 for non-profit/public sector participants. A reduced participation fee may be available to those individuals who demonstrate a clear financial need.

Emerging Leaders become part of a diverse network of globally fluent leaders who will continue to raise the bar for Chicago as a leading global city.

Emerging Leader alumni include Khadine Bennett, Associate Legislative Director, ACLU of Illinois; Jeanne Gang (pictured), renowned architect and founder and principal of Studio Gang; Joshua Hale, president and CEO, Big Shoulders Fund; and Raja Krishnamoorthi, US House of Representatives, IL 8th District. See all alumni.

Applications for the 2018-19 class are now closed. Learn more about the current class of Emerging Leaders.