Understanding policy and leadership around the world 

Understanding the policy priorities of people around the world is essential to the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect. We know that today’s leaders will have to work in a different way from their predecessors, in this era of multiple global challenges there is a need for new models of leadership, longer-term policy priorities and a focus on people coming together to find solutions internationally. This is why we continue to build a global network of emerging policy leaders through Future Leaders Connect and why we are committed to supporting the network over the long-term as they become the new generation of leaders.

Our research helps us to understand the policy priorities in different countries and enables us to cater to the needs of diverse leaders who face a variety of challenges. Our Future Leaders Connect research inspires us to develop and adapt our programme and our online resources reactively to reflect the biggest current global issues as they shift and change. Having evidence from our network and understanding people’s policy priorities allows us to tailor the Future Leaders Connect programme and online resources to ensure we are establishing a robust long-term network of emerging policy leaders who are empowered with the skills, knowledge and connections to make significant change through policy and politics in the years to come.

Through the annual application data we collect from Future Leaders Connect applicants, we can analyse the top priorities from ambitious individuals, who are seeking to make change and who are aged 25-35 from thirteen countries around the world. Through this research, access to education has for three consecutive years remained the top priority. Youth issues and sustainability/climate change remain consistently prominent in the major global issues that concern people as does gender equality. However, there are variants and surprises in each country and the range of challenges that arise are unique to each country. We also know that traditional forms of leadership are changing and that the younger generations now admire qualities such as collaboration and teamwork in the leaders. Our reports feature lists of most admired leaders around the world through the eyes of young leaders themselves. Knowing the problems that Future Leaders Connect applicants want to solve and the ways in which they want to solve these problems gives us valuable insight into the differences and similarities of policy challenges and knowledge about what it might take to overcome some of these.

Read our reports below to see the detailed findings both globally and nationally.

2019 - The policy priorities and leadership outlook of 15,500 Future Leaders Connect applicants 

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2018 - The policy priorities and leadership outlook of 16,000 Future Leaders Connect applicants 

Read the report 

2017 - The policy priorities and leadership outlook of 11,000 Future Leaders Connect applicants 

Read the report 

If you want to read more policy, research and insights from the British Council then visit our homepage here.  


Former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan discusses global policy with Future Leaders Connect members ©

British Council