Monday 22 October 2018
  • The US group is part of 50 young people from around the globe meeting  world leaders, parliamentarians and academics in the UK as part of the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect programme
  • The nine-day programme includes advanced policy and leadership training at the Møller Institute, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, and visits to the UK Houses of Parliament and No.10 Downing Street, London
  • Future Leaders Connect helps some of the world’s brightest 18-35 year olds sharpen their leadership and policy making skills
  • This year’s 50 winners were selected from 16,000 applications worldwide. 

Four winners from the USA are among the 50 young people meeting in the UK for the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect programme. The US members include Samuel Greene, Steven Pacheco, Luisa del Rosal and Vanessa Vardon. Each individual on the programme was selected based on their vision for improving their country through policy and their potential to be a senior leader in the future. 

The US delegates will be joined by peers from Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia and the four nations of the UK. 

Now in its second year, the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect initiative provides advanced policy and leadership development training, networking opportunities with world leaders and visits to famous UK institutions to help build tomorrow’s leaders from around the world. 

The 2018 members are also participating in an evening of debate and conversation in London with Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile (2000-2006), Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, and other dignitaries from among The Elders. The Elders are an independent group of world leaders founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007, working together for peace, justice and human rights. 

After their UK trip, our US group will remain part of this global network of emerging leaders and gain access to connections and their global peers, receiving ongoing training and opportunities. 

Sir Ciarán Devane, the Chief Executive of the British Council, explains: “Our aim is to build a long-term, international community of leaders, whose global visions and values will help them tackle the world’s next challenges. Future Leaders Connect is an opportunity for emerging leaders to collaborate with their counterparts from all over the world, and to benefit from some of the best knowledge that the UK has to offer on their respective journeys for change.” 

Anybody interested in policy and leadership can also join the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect worldwide free online training course (MOOC) in early 2019 at:

For more information, contact Megan Oliver, US Digital Communications Manager.  

Notes to Editor

The nine-day UK programme runs 22-31 October 2018.

Applications for the next Future Leaders Connect will open in March 2019 at 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government. 

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.

Dignitaries present at the London event will include:

Louise Arbour – UN Special Representative for International Migration

Sir Ciarán Devane – Chief Executive of the British Council

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 2014 – 2018

The Elders

Gro Harlem Brundtland (Acting Chair) – Former Prime Minister of Norway

Lakhdar Brahimi – freedom fighter; Algerian Foreign Minister 1991-1993

Hina Jilani – leading Pakistani human rights advocate; Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan

Ricardo Lagos – President of Chile 2000-2006

Graça Machel – First Education Minister of Mozambique, co-founder of The Elders

Mary Robinson – President of Ireland 1990-1997, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 1997-2002

Ernesto Zedillo – President of Mexico 1994-2000

For full biographies of all The Elders and more information visit: