A key part of the GLOBSEC success story is the fact that it grew out of a student project to become a major international forum. The very first young leaders’ format organised by GLOBSEC was the 2012 Bratislava Young Atlanticist Summit, a European leg of a young professionals programme organised by the Atlantic Council, culminating in a Young Atlanticist Summit on the sidelines of the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago. One of the purposes of then establishing GLOBSEC Young Leaders Forum was to create a network of future leaders to work on strengthening transatlantic cooperation; an aim which has since extended to cooperation with other leading organisations and forums promoting young leaders’ participation in the public and private sphere globally.
In addition to the annual Forum, GYLF has also become an umbrella term for additional activities aimed at engaging young leaders and professionals. Chief among them is the presence of the young leaders at GLOBSEC Tatra Summit, which brings together key representatives from the public and private sectors to address the most pressing European political, economic, and financial issues. In 2016, GLOBSEC Young Europeans Forum was organised on the occasion of the Slovak EU Council Presidency. Participants met for the first time at the European Council Summit in Bratislava, then reconvened at the GLOBSEC Tatra Summit. Since 2018, the Tatra Summit has also included a young leaders’ cohort consisting of GYLF alumni as well as emerging leaders in the private sector across Europe. Fully integrated into the conference agenda, the Tatra Summit young leaders are involved in formulating policy proposals and outcomes as well as the formal and informal discussions.
Over the course of its 9 editions, GYLF has welcomed over 260 participants from over 50 countries and from 160 leading institutions in the realm of politics, business, and the non-governmental sector. When selecting the young leaders, we strive to keep the balance in the realm of three main areas. First of all, though our geographical focus remains predominantly European (with all regions included), the last few editions of the Forum have seen an increased presence from other parts of the world, including North and Latin America, Canada, Morocco and Australia. Secondly, the breadth of expertise not only matches the key themes of the Forum rather closely, but also aims to engage different kinds of expertise from a wide variety of public, private and non-governmental sector institutions. And lastly, we are deeply committed to promoting gender equality and increasing female expert presence in policy debates and policy making. Last’s year edition of the Forum has almost exactly flipped the balance of the inaugural edition, with 63 percent of participants being female.
For the decade of its existence, GLOBSEC Young Leaders Forum would be impossible without the steady support of our partners from across the globe. We have been proud to partner on advancing young professional voices together with our transatlantic partners, including the Atlantic Forum and with some of the most renowned organisations focused on connecting young leaders, such as Global Voices Australia and the Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leaders from Morocco, the Slovak Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the leading US and European think-tanks, namely the George C. Marshall Center and the Wilfred Martens Center; and finally, our private sector partners such as Microsoft.