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Key information for the 2020 Young Leaders program

Important Message:

Dear Young Leader applicants,

We understand that due to COVID-19, you are probably taking care of a lot right now at work and at home. It’s likely that you may need additional time to finish your application (originally due on Friday, March 20).  

That is why we are extending our application deadline to Friday, March 27, at midnight. The portal will remain open for one extra week and we welcome candidates to submit their completed application anytime until that date, without penalty.

Click here to apply

Important dates

  • January 15, 2020
    Official opening of the selection process.
  • March 27, 2020
    Official closing of the application process (deadline extended).
  • April to May 2020
    Selection committee reviews applications.
  • June 2020
    Approximately ten Young Leaders are chosen for the class of 2020. All applicants are informed of the selection results.
  • October 12, 2020
    American Young Leaders meet in New York before traveling to France.
  • October 13-18, 2020
    Meeting of the 2019-2020 Young Leaders in France.
  • Fall 2021
    Meeting of the 2020-2021 Young Leaders in the United States.

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Participants attend two 4- to 5-day meetings over the course of two years, one in France and one in the United States. The Foundation covers the travel and lodging expenses of the Young Leaders for the two meetings.

The 2020 seminar in France will begin in the evening on Tuesday, October 13 and end in the evening on Saturday, October 17. American Young Leaders should plan to arrive in New York on Monday, October 12 (Columbus Day) for an afternoon activity, fly to Paris the evening of October 12, and travel home on Sunday, October 18. Young Leaders are expected to attend the entirety of the seminar and ensure that the dates of October 12-18 are clear on their calendars.

We also heartily encourage Young Leaders to attend our annual gala, which will be held this year on Monday, June 8, 2020 in New York. It is a festive occasion that celebrates our new Young Leaders and where you can meet many special guests and toast to the French-American relationship!

The mission of the program is to build lasting friendships between leaders on both sides of the Atlantic, not just during the program, but also by engaging with the broader Young Leaders alumni community. The Foundation organizes events, panels and get-togethers throughout the year. Even though Young Leaders live in various cities, we do ask that Young Leaders remain engaged in the community and contribute to the activities of the Foundation during the two-year program (and beyond!). For more information, please see the Young Leaders Responsibilities Charter. The Foundation reserves the right to withdraw a Young Leader from the program if he or she does not abide by the charter.

Selection process and eligibility – US candidates

New members to each US class of Young Leaders are selected via a highly competitive application process. All interested candidates who meet the eligibility requirements (who are between 30 and 40 years old at the time they apply and who are living and working in the United States, or who have a history of living and working in the United States) are welcome to submit an application to the French-American Foundation—United States online. All applications are collected from January through March and are recorded by the Program Director.

The selection process takes place in four phases:

Phase One: The Foundation advances the top half to two-thirds of applications to interviewers.

Phase Two: Interviewers, who are comprised of Board Members and alumni of the Young Leaders program, interview selected candidates, either in-person or by phone.

Phase Three: The Young Leaders selection committee, made up of a group of alumni from a diverse range of classes and sectors, reviews applications and interview comments, and votes on candidates.

Phase Four: The selection committee meets in May to make final decisions regarding the class. Candidates are notified by early June.

The jury evaluates candidates based on their past leadership experience, their potential to attain the highest level of leadership in their chosen profession, and their ability to contribute to the enrichment of today’s word. Also considered is a candidate’s enthusiasm to participate in the program and his or her interest in being an active member of the Young Leaders alumni community.

The French-American Foundation aims to select Young Leaders with diverse experiences – enabling program participants develop relationships with French and American leaders across a range of backgrounds and areas of expertise.

Please note: Membership in the French-American Foundation’s Transatlantic Forum does not influence a candidate’s application to the Young Leaders program. Although members of the Forum may apply and be accepted to the Young Leaders program, the admissions processes are not linked. Participation in one does not guarantee access to the other.

Application guidelines

Candidates living in the U.S. should apply here, to the French-American Foundation–United States, and candidates living in France should apply to the French-American Foundation in France.

For candidates living in the U.S.:

All of the application materials must be in English.
Candidates should send:

  • An online application form (accessible via the “click here to apply” link at the top of this page)
  • A personal statement (up to 400 words)
  • A resume
  • A copy of your passport photo page
  • An innovative way of introducing yourself. For example, applicants have sent photo collages, power point presentations, videos (2-minute maximum), and published materials. This is a chance for you to get creative and help us get to know you!
  • OPTIONAL: One letter of recommendation from someone who knows you well in a professional or academic capacity

For any questions, please contact:

Katie DeMallie
Program Director
[email protected]

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