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Emerging Leaders at a meeting with Senator Tammy Duckworth

Applications for the Class of 2025 will open this summer.

Think Global, Lead Local: Build a Better Chicago

Through the Emerging Leaders Program, you will:

  • Develop your knowledge of global affairs
  • Join a committed, compassionate community of diverse peer leaders
  • Build the tools, network, and resources to better mitigate global challenges in Chicago

Read more about our mission

We do this through:

  • Twice monthly collaborative learning sessions from February through November
  • A cohort trip to Washington, DC
  • Special events and off-the-record meetings with world leaders, policymakers, and other experts
  • Exclusive Emerging Leader gatherings

Learn more about our approach

Emerging Leaders head industries from finance and law to healthcare and manufacturing, from government and education to the arts and nonprofit sectors.

Meet our current class or explore the wider Emerging Leader community.


Ariel Schwartz

Director, Emerging Leaders Program
Headshot for Ariel Schwartz

Becoming a Global Leader

Global leaders are globally attuned, civically minded, and locally engaged.

A group of Emerging Leaders meeting EL alumnus and US Congressman Sean Casten.

Emerging Leaders class of 2020 speaking with former EL and Member of Congress Sean Casten.

People sit around a large table during a meeting

The Emerging Leaders class of 2022 during a meeting in Washington, DC.

By participating in the Council’s Emerging Leaders Program, you can expect to:

  • Develop a thorough, multifaceted understanding of global affairs and US foreign policy
  • Consider how global challenges impact your field and how your field impacts the world
  • Formulate and articulate clear, informed opinions on global issues
  • Hone your public speaking skills
  • Learn how to write op-eds and policy briefs
  • Deftly handle television interviews and other media engagements
  • Become part of a broad network of global leaders from a wide range of industries
  • Connect with global leaders and experts, including ambassadors, US representatives and senators, government officials, policymakers, and journalists
51% of recent EL participants

Of our 2021 and 2022 classes of Emerging Leaders, 51% have changed jobs or been promoted within two years of completing the program.

The Council was the one place I could come and have intellectually honest and rigorous discussions with people of differing viewpoints.

Michael Hubband Emerging Leader Class of 2019; Portfolio Manager, Thrivent Mutual Funds

Strengthen Your Leadership Skills

The Emerging Leaders Program centers community connection and experiential learning. We do this through:

We meet twice monthly, February through November (only once a month in July and in August).

Sessions include: 

  • Presentations by subject matter experts
  • Skill-building workshops
  • Group exercises
  • Conversations with consuls general and global practitioners

Our annual cohort trip to Washington, DC offers a behind-the-scenes look at US foreign affairs and policymaking.

We meet with key figures in US government and global affairs to hear about their work and, during intimate cohort outings, reflect on lessons learned.

We support our Emerging Leaders in making the program their own!

Past Emerging Leaders have:

  • Toured BP’s Chicago headquarters
  • Presented flash talks to Council staff and board members

As members of our Presidents Club, Emerging Leaders are central members of our community.

ELs join our in-person and virtual events, attend briefings with Council fellows, and engage in private roundtables with world leaders and foreign policy experts.

The Emerging Leaders enjoy an active community of exciting peers.

ELs attend intimate cocktail receptions, board-hosted dinners, and other social events.

A man speaks at a podium with a TV screen beside him

Julien Rosan, Class of 2022, presents the value of developing a "Trade Corps," public-private partnerships that support US-company commercial objectives abroad.

EL Class of 2025 Program Dates

  • EL Class of 2025 Orientation and Welcome Reception: TBD
  • Retreat: January 24-25, 2025
  • First Friday of each month, beginning February 7, 2025
    • 2025: February 7, March 7, April 4, June 6, September 5, October 3, and November 7
  • Third Wednesday of each month, beginning February 19, 2025
    • 2025: February 19, March 19, April 16, May 21, June 18, September 17, October 15, and November 19
  • Summer sessions: July 16 and August 13, 2025
  • Washington, DC Trip Briefing: April 23, 2025
  • Washington, DC Trip: April 27-29, 2025
Alumni Spotlight
See all program alumni