Foreign Policy Leader of the Future

posted on May 25, 2012 in Leadership

Tuesday May 22nd was a memorable night in the history of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, as the organization celebrated the past and future of YPFP, and new President Gary Barnabo launched the beginning of a dialogue on the future of foreign policy leadership.  Over 100 people attended the “Foreign Policy Leader of the Future” town hall meeting, which took place at the US Navy Memorial, and featured a panel of leading young experts in the field of international relations.  The evening was capped off with former President Josh Marcuse sharing his experiences as YPFP’s first leader, and then introducing YPFP’s new leader, Gary Barnabo, who laid out his vision for the next year at YPFP.

The panel featured discussions from Ronan Farrow, Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Global youth Issues and the director of the State Department’s Global Youth Issues Office; Josh Rogin, staff writer for Foreign Policy who publishes a daily web column called The Cable; Michael Breen, Vice President of the Truman National Security Project, and a decorated former Army Captain; Alexandra Toma, Executive Director of the Connect US Fund, and Nealin Parker, Deputy Director of the Office of Transition Initiatives at USAID.   Each speaker shared their experiences over the years and the struggles they faced as they were beginning their careers as young foreign policy professionals.  The panel passed along a cache of advice to those seeking to make an impact in their respective fields.

Joshua Marcuse complimented the panel’s discussion by sharing his experiences and lessons he learned while at the helm of YPFP.  Josh then introduced the new President of YPFP Gary Barnabo, who unveiled the “Foreign Policy Leader of the Future” dialogue and his vision for YPFP for the next year.

Gary urged all YPFP members to begin a conversation on the future of foreign policy leadership.  In this globalized interconnected and complex world, new challenges are emerging at an unprecedented scale, scope and speed.  Whether it is war, famine, environmental disasters or terrorism, the new leaders of the 21st century will need new tools and approaches to tackle a multitude of unanticipated risks and threats.   This demands that our generation embraces and designs new systems to foreign policy that masters this complexity.

Gary challenged all of us to accept this new type of leadership, and for all to make the choice to lead.  As the year progresses, and as events around us unfold, think about what the foreign policy leader of the future will look like, and the new integrated tools and thinking that these leaders will need to effectively manage an ever evolving landscape.  Have this dialogue with friends, colleagues and family members and share these ideas and analysis with the YPFP community.  This pertinent and evolving discussion can equip all of us with the insights we’ll all need as we begin to lead and shape the world around us.

by Matt Hays and Charles Prince