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The Chicago Council on Global Affairs announced its 2020 class of the Emerging Leaders program today. Selected from a pool of highly competitive applicants, the class includes 19 of Chicago’s best and brightest from some of its most prominent organizations including Goldman Sachs, Grant Thornton, KPMG, Northwestern University, the US Department of Energy, UIC, and the University of Chicago among many others.

Over the next year, they will engage in a rigorous program to further their knowledge of US foreign policy and strengthen leadership skills. Participants will deepen their understanding of global affairs and policy through a year of skills trainings, site visits, and discussions with a wide array of policymakers and influencers.

“The Council is invested in preparing the next generation of leaders for current and future global challenges,” said Council President Ivo Daalder. “During a time of transition and turmoil across the globe, the Emerging Leaders program provides an opportunity for fellows to deepen their global expertise and curiosity. By expanding their networks and foreign policy acumen, new Emerging Leaders stand ready to tackle the many challenges of their generation – from climate change to migration, and so much more.”

This is the 11th year of the Emerging Leaders program. The 2020 class will participate in briefings with Council experts to explore global security, global cities, economic inequality, food insecurity and other topical global issues defining US engagement abroad. They will meet with policymakers in Washington, DC, attend Council events and train in important leadership skills.

This year's class participants are:

  • Jenna Anderson, Boston Consulting Group
  • TJ Augustine, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Brian Axelrad, Beyond Capital Fund
  • Bobby Bacci, Prominence Advisors
  • Jonathan Chaparro, Braven
  • Regina Cross, Goldman Sachs
  • Appreccia Faulkner, Global Strategists Association
  • Janice Giddens, National Dairy Council
  • Mariam Huss, Axxum Consulting
  • Jamia Jowers, Obama Foundation Scholars Program, University of Chicago
  • Dan Misch, US Department of Energy
  • Matt Pelton, KPMG LLP
  • Jon Quinn, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
  • Shima Rayej, Safe Rate
  • Amanda Spikes, KPMG LLP
  • Edward Weaver, Grant Thornton
  • Nina Wieda, Northwestern University
  • Austin Wright, University of Chicago
  • Abizer Zanzi, US Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Indiana

Emerging Leader alumni include Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Sean Casten (D-IL), US Circuit Judge Michael Scudder, architect and 2019 TIME 100 honoree Jeanne Gang, President of Heartland Alliance Evelyn Diaz, current nominee for Ambassador at Large for Global Criminal Justice Morse Tan, Cook County Board Commissioner Bridget Gainer, Executive Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab Roseanna Ander, and the Deputy Treasurer of Illinois Rodrigo Garcia.

The Emerging Leaders program was established in 2008 and has graduated 202 participants to date. More information about the Emerging Leaders program is available at