Monday 06 August 2018
  • Ten young people from the United States have just five minutes to explain why their policy idea could make the world a better place.
  • Winners will travel to the UK to undergo advanced leadership training at the University of Cambridge and meet with Members of the UK Houses of Parliament.
  • Contestants and winners will become part of a global network of emerging policy leaders.

Policy Wonk Live!, an ‘X-Factor/TED-x-style’ event at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Monday 13 August 2018, will give ten young people just five minutes to persuade a panel of judges why their policy idea could make the world a better place.

The judging panel for Policy Wonk Live! includes Dr. Paula Warrick (Senior Director of the Office of Merit Awards at American University), William Kellibrew (Director of the Office of Youth Violence Prevention in the Baltimore City Health Department), Derek Conrad (Communications Manager at Capital One), and Melissa Wear (Head of Society Programmes at the British Council in the USA). 

The ten participants will be competing for one of four posts to represent the United States in the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect program. The U.S. finalists will join other international representatives in a nine-day advanced policy and leadership development opportunity, including two days spent with politicians in the UK Houses of Parliament, where they will put forward their policy ideas on combating some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: “An international outlook is vital for future leaders of all countries to understand and overcome the challenges our changing world presents. Through Future Leaders Connect we will help a new generation to understand practical policy development by putting them in contact with the leaders of today and helping them to develop the skills and international contacts they need to make positive change.” 

Over 200 young people from the United States were invited to apply to become a member of the global network of emerging policy leaders. Eleven other countries are taking part in the Future Leaders Connect program, including Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Tunisia, and the UK.

Future Leaders Connect is a network of emerging policy leaders made up of exceptional individuals aged 18-35 from around the world. Members of the network are given the opportunity to develop their policy-making expertise, make valuable connections and gain the skills to have a real impact.

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

A separate study by the British Council in 2014 found that one in ten world leaders had studied in the UK.

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact Megan Oliver, Digital Communications Manager at the British Council in the USA.

Additional information is available on the British Council website. #FutureLeadersConnect

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.