The British Council is committed to developing future leaders. To prepare for the world ahead of us the next generation of leaders must be skilled, innovative and globally connected people, able to make and respond to change with effective policy making.

The British Council launched Future Leaders Connect: a global network for emerging policy leaders. Future Leaders Connect is where exceptional young people from around the world joined a network of emerging policy leaders. They developed their policy making expertise and gained the skills to have real impact. Together they discussed major global policy issues in the Houses of Parliament, engaged with inspiring leaders, visited some of the UK’s leading global institutions and collaborated to produce innovative policy recommendations. The skills, experience and connections they made through Future Leaders Connect will support them to seize their leadership potential.

Selected Future Leaders participated in policy and leadership development training at the Møller Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge before traveling to London for an immersive conference in the UK Houses of Parliament in October 2017. Participants were from Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia, the UK and the USA.

Meet our USA Future Leaders!

After an extensive application process, the British Council selected four young leaders in the United States. Their areas of expertise included gentrification and immigration, using arts and education to inspire policy recommendations in the UK and the US.

Imani Jacqueline Brown

Imani Jacqueline Brown is a New Orleans native, artist, activist, and researcher. She believes that art can drive policy and orients her practice toward the ever-elusive flicker of justice on the horizon, knowing that our world cannot find balance until social, ecological, and economic reparations are won. Imani is Director of Programs at Antenna, Co-Founder of Blights Out, and a core member of Occupy Museums. Through three years of experiential research into the system of housing development, Blights Out has discovered the legal lynchpin of gentrification in New Orleans and is calling for policy change to redress our city’s housing crisis. In 2017, Occupy Museums’ project, “Debtfair” was featured in the Whitney Biennial. Imani is Artistic Director of Fossil Free Festival, which will take place in New Orleans, April 7-8, 2018. In 2014, her paper, Performing Bare Life, was named best in her substream at LAEMOS in Havana, Cuba. Her writing has been published in Pelican Bomb, Krytyka Polityczna, and Shelterforce Magazine. Imani received her BA in Visual Arts and Anthropology from Columbia University in 2010. She will pursue her Master’s at the Center for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, in Fall 2018.

 

Sonia Guiñansaca

Sonia Guiñansaca is a migrant poet, cultural organizer, and activist from Harlem, NY by way of Ecuador. Guiñansaca a VONA/Voices alumni has performed at El Museo Del Barrio, the NY Poetry Festival, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and featured on NBC, PBS, Latina Magazine, Pen American, and the Poetry Foundation to name a few. She has presented keynotes, workshops, and panels at universities throughout the country on issues of immigration, LGBTQ, and power of arts/culture. She’s been named as 1 of 10 Up and Coming Latinx Poets You Need to Know by Remezcla, one of 13 Coolest Queers on the Internet by Teen Vogue, and the 2017's Artist in Residence at NYU's Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. She has emerged as a national leader in migrant artistic and political communities. Co-founded and help build some of the largest undocumented organizations in the country, coordinating and participating in groundbreaking civil disobedience actions. She has also founded some of the first creative artistic projects by and for undocumented writers/artists.  Recently named as the Managing Director of CultureStrike. Her global vision for change is to shift culture and narratives about migration so that we can truly address the political, systemic, and social needs of migrants and refugees.

Juliana Ospina Cano

Juliana Ospina Cano operates at the intersection of education and social justice. She is a visionary with an unwavering commitment to positively influencing the academic and socio-emotional success of immigrant students. For over ten years, Juliana has worked tirelessly to transform the lives and opportunities of first-generation American students. Based in Washington, D.C., she spearheads UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) work in shaping, accelerating and broadening access to STEM education for underserved students across the United States. To date, her bold approach to education programs has touched over 2,000 children and youth. Before UnidosUS, Juliana held leadership positions in public schools in Tennessee and Georgia which served to foster and solidify her global commitment and vision towards the development of intentional and inclusive environments that promote high quality and equitable educational opportunities for students and families from all backgrounds. At STEM Preparatory Academy, Nashville’s first STEM-focused public charter school, she developed systemic and sustainable practices which served to create a welcoming environment for all families and advanced student achievement. Juliana holds a BA from Kennesaw State University, and a MS in Education from Johns Hopkins University where she is also pursuing a Doctoral degree in Education. Juliana’s research focuses on the cognitive development of immigrant adolescent youth.

 

Tada Vargas

Tada Vargas is an enrolled member of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. She is currently pursuing Bachelor Degrees in Chemistry and Conservation Biology at Oglala Lakota College, a Tribal College composed of eleven centers across the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  She also has three Associate Degrees in Tribal Law, Life Sciences, Science, Engineering, and Math. Tada has been a leadership voice for her college center for three consecutive years. She promoted events that tackled issues like obesity, suicide, and global warming.  Her most successful events incorporated traditional values, such as the “Canteyuke” (Generosity) Drive.  At a recent conference Tada was struck by the fact that on average a US household wastes up to 40 percent of groceries each year.  Coming from, and actively involved in, a community which experiences some of the highest poverty rates in the country, Tada will focus on policies which address food sovereignty and obtaining food security in communities like hers.      

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