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Emerging Leaders Class of 2018 Application 

Thank you for your interest in the Emerging Leaders Program. We are no longer accepting applications for the Emerging Leaders Class of 2018. If you have already submitted your application, we will be in touch regarding your submission.

 Information about the program, candidates, and selection processes are below. You can learn more about the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and previous Emerging Leaders classes on our website

About the Emerging Leaders Program  

The Emerging Leaders Program will prepare the next generation of leaders in Chicago’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors to be thoughtful, internationally savvy leaders by deepening their understanding of global affairs and policy. This highly selective program will create a network of globally fluent leaders in government, corporations, and nonprofit organizations – in Chicago and beyond – who will also serve as brand ambassadors for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs during and after the program.

ELs will gain a broader world view as they hone their foreign policy skills and examine key global issues. In addition, they will broaden their networks among outstanding peers and Council leadership.

The intense year of meetings, discussions, skill building sessions, site visits, and cross-class interaction, will begin with a required EL introduction reception in July and an overnight retreat in September. The framework for the year will be established with a site visit in October.

Two required Emerging Leaders meetings each month will feature briefings by the Council’s in-house fellows and other thought leaders exploring a variety of topics that are key issues for the Council – and for the future of US foreign policy. These issues include, but may not be limited to: global cities; economic inequality within and between nations; faith and foreign policy; 21st century spycraft and warfare; immigration policy and reform; the toll of global warming; economic transitions and labor displacements; and food (in)security. Meetings will be held every first Friday afternoon (2pm-5pm) and third Wednesday evening (5pm-8pm) of the month. The year will culminate around a final project.

Mandatory Dates:

  • Evening of July 19, 2017
  • September 15-17, 2017
  • Evening of September 20, 2017
  • October 2-3, 2017
  • Every third Wednesday of the month, from 4 to 8 p.m., beginning October 18 
  • Every first Friday of the month, from 2 to 5 p.m., beginning November 3
  • Chicago Forum on Global Cities, June 2018

Selection Criteria 

Emerging Leaders will be chosen from corporate, non-profit, and government sectors to create a class of about 20 participants. Ideal candidates are highly accomplished in their careers and expected to rise to the top of their fields in the next five to 10 years. Between the ages of 30 to 40, they have a strong professional or personal interest in international affairs, a commitment to community engagement, and a thirst for knowledge. The Council will intentionally seek exceptional leaders who reflect the rich diversity of Chicago.

Emerging Leader candidates should have the following qualities:

  • Between 30-40 years old – Candidates must be 40 or under as of June 30, 2017.

  • Interested in global affairs – Candidates should have a strong demonstrated professional or personal interest in global issues, trends, and events.

  • Passionate and driven – Candidates are highly accomplished in their careers and expected to rise to the top of their fields in the next 10 years.

  • Engaged in the community – Candidates are active in their communities and committed to working on solutions that will positively impact Chicago’s role as a global city.

  • Able to participate in key meeting dates and sessions –  Emerging Leaders meet on the first Friday (2 to 5 p.m.) and third Wednesday (5 to 8 p.m.) of each month, in addition to the mandatory dates alluded to above and participation in a Council program of their choice each month. Awareness of the time commitment by the candidate’s supervisor is mandatory for the program.

  • Prepared to deliver – Candidates are expected to complete an end-of-year project that explores a key issue within the Emerging Leaders curriculum. Candidates can select to complete an op-ed or podcast, and will receive support from Council staff and experts on design, execution, and placement.

  • Committed to supporting the Council on Global Affairs – After the program year, candidates are expected to maintain an active membership with the Council on Global Affairs and continue to participate in signature Council efforts such as the Annual Fund, the Chicago Forum on Global Cities, and activities with the Emerging Leaders Alumni Network.

  • Unique in their experiences and perspectives – The Emerging Leaders program aims to select a cohort who are diverse not only in their personal and professional backgrounds, but also with the ideological and intellectual perspectives they bring to the program.

Emerging Leaders Selection

Initial Application
April 5 - April 26

  • The application for the class of 2018 will be available from Wednesday, April 5, 2017 to Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 5 p.m. CT. 
  • All candidates must complete and submit the candidate information form, two letters of reference, and four essays to be considered. 
  • Reference letters are open and should be completed by those who can speak to the candidate’s qualifications for the program.
  • Applications will be scored by the Emerging Leaders selection committee composed of Council leadership members, Emerging Leader alumni, and Emerging Leaders Program staff.

May 18 - May 25

  • Candidates selected from the initial round of applications will receive an invitation to interview with the EL selection committee.
  • Each candidate will be interviewed for 20 to 30 minutes at the Council on Global Affairs by a sub-group of the Emerging Leaders selection committee.
  • Candidates will be notified on the status of their application the week of May 15. 

Final Selection
Week of June 19

  • If selected, each participant is required to submit:
    • written confirmation of support acknowledging the time commitment by immediate supervisor
    • a statement agreeing to meet the expectations of the Emerging Leaders Program, including: full participation at meetings, programs and events; outreach to their network on behalf of the Council, and ongoing engagement after the program year. 
  • All candidates will be notified on the status of their application the week of June 19.