Introducing the 99 Society and the 2012 Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders

Posted on September 17, 2012

Last year, YPFP and the Diplomatic Courier jointly launched the "Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders," a project that captures the impact of 99 leaders under the age of 33, because we wanted to tell a powerful story about the Millennial generation. For Ana, as a journalist, it was an opportunity to cover an important and underappreciated trend in global politics. For Josh, as a nonprofit leader, it was an opportunity to highlight inspiring examples of what young people could achieve. What neither of us expected was the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response. We decided that “99 Under 33” should become an annual project and we began planning activities to engage the honorees year-round. We are thrilled to share with you the second iteration of the “99 Under 33” list, a group just as impressive, innovative, driven, and inspiring as the first.

The profiles of the “99 Under 33” offer insight into the creativity, determination, and passion of the young people who are already tackling the world's critical global challenges. By design, this list is broad and diverse, encompassing attorneys, financiers, technologists, journalists, bankers, activists, and scientists—as well as diplomats, soldiers, and other government officials. This reflects our belief that foreign policy in the 21st century is made by leaders from all sectors. In particular, you will notice how many of them launched a social venture, an NGO, a company, a government campaign, or a bold idea. This is because—more than anything else—we believe the foreign policy leader of the future is an entrepreneur.

This year the selection committee introduced a new framework and methodology based on seven leadership archetypes that reflects our refined concept of what it will take to tackle critical global challenges in the future. While most of the versatile “99’ers” we selected exhibit several of these qualities, we mapped each person to one of these categories.

  • Catalyst is from a field not typically associated with foreign policy who has had an impact on international affairs.A Convener brings people together in creative ways to address a pressing international issue or enhance the foreign policy community.
  • An Influencer mobilizes people in the foreign policy community with bold new ideas.
  • An Innovator designs a new solution to a critical global challenge.
  • Practitioner changes foreign policy from the inside through extraordinary professionalism and skill.
  • Risk-taker takes a chance and sees it pay off.
  • Shaper changes the public discourse on an aspect of foreign policy or raises awareness on a critical issue.

See the 2012 Top 99 Young Professionals in Foreign Policy here: