With U.S.-China relations taking on increasing importance in all spheres of life — economic, geopolitical, cultural — it becomes vital to enhance the dialogue between our countries and build lasting, direct, and informative ties between our peoples. The Young Leaders Forum (YLF), now in its second decade, does just that.
Each year, YLF holds a four-day retreat to which a select group of exceptional American and Chinese young professionals are invited. Together, participants explore substantive issues, identify commonalities, and develop enduring friendships and partnerships in a casual, intimate environment.
Comprised of influencers and change-makers, the accomplished group of YLF fellows works in a variety of fields. Fellows include government officials and politicians, authors, university leaders, entrepreneurs, and musicians and artists. Attention is given to geographic, gender, and ethnic diversity. An alphabetical listing of all YLF participants since the program’s inception has been posted on the right side of this page.
The forum’s location alternates each year between the United States and China. Each forum is packed with interesting, provocative cross-cultural conversation and activity.
The National Committee, the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA), and the Forum’s U.S. sponsors—led in 2019 by Chubb and Xcoal—cover all lodging, food, and program costs of the YLF retreat for the first two years of our fellows’ participation, allowing them to attend one Forum in the United States and one in China. Participants are asked to pay their own travel expenses to and from the venue, but some full or partial subsidies are available.
The National Committee does not have a formal application process for the Young Leaders Forum, but we do accept materials from individuals who would like to be considered for nomination to our next class. If you are interested in participating in the next Young Leaders Forum and you will not exceed 40 years of age in 2021, you may send a resume, cover letter, and links to other materials you would like us to consider to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 – Chengdu, SICHUAN
2018 – Detroit, MI
2017 – Foshan, GUANGDONG
2015 – White Castle, LA
2014 – Yangzhou, JIANGSU
2013 – Austin, TX
2011 – Xi’an, SHAANXI
2010 – Timber Cove, CA
2009 – Xiamen, FUJIAN
2008 – Snoqualmie, WA
2007 – Nanjing, JIANGSU
2006 – Santa Cruz, CA
2005 – Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou, SICHUAN
2004 – Sedona, AZ
2003 – Hangzhou, ZHEJIANG, and Huangshan
2002 – Santa Barbara, CA
We gratefully acknowledge contributions made by the following sponsors in support of current and past Young Leaders Forums:
ACE Charitable Foundation
Ford Motor Company
John Thornton Foundation
The Alcoa Foundation
The Starr Foundation
Time Warner Inc.
XCoal Energy & Resources
2019 Young Leaders Forum
March 29, 2019 to April 2, 2019
The National Committee and the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) held the annual Young Leaders Forum in Dujiangyan, on the outskirts of Chengdu in Sichuan Province. The Forum brought together three dozen of the ‘best and brightest’ American and Chinese men and women under the age of forty for several days of substantive presentations and meaningful discussion interspersed with site visits and group activities. Fellows deepened their understanding of U.S.-China relations and expanded their trans-Pacific networks as they explored the Greater Chengdu area.
2018 Young Leaders Forum
May 11, 2018 to May 15, 2018
The National Committee held its annual Young Leaders Forum in early May 2018, bringing three dozen of the “best and brightest” American and Chinese men and women under the age of forty together for several days of substantive discussion and activity in Detroit, Michigan. Over 50 fellows attended the Forum, where they deepened their understanding of U.S.-China relations and expanded their trans-Pacific networks as they explored a revitalizing Motor City. With the prompt of “Roots to Routes,” fellows discussed key aspects of their background or a meaningful past experience that continues to shape their personal or professional identity.
2017 Young Leaders Forum
March 1, 2017 to March 5, 2017
Foshan, Guangdong, China
Fifty current and alumni fellows attended the four-day 2017 Young Leaders Forum in Foshan, Guangdong — just 45 minutes outside Guangzhou. With a theme of “HERE’S THE THING,” fellows discussed an object (or two) that they would bring on a hypothetical joint Sino-American mission – items with professional or personal significance that reveal some insights into who they are. The Forum will also be packed with interesting, provocative cross-cultural conversation and activities.
2015 Young Leaders Forum
November 16, 2015 to November 20, 2015
White Castle, LA
Forty current and alumni fellows attended the four-day 2015 U.S.-China Young Leaders Forum in White Castle, Louisiana — just 75 minutes outside New Orleans. With a theme of “Surprise Me,” fellows discussed aspects of their work or personal life that others might not have expected, and possibly debunked some common misconceptions. Fellows also engaged in other interesting, provocative cross-cultural conversation and activity.
2014 Young Leaders Forum
October 22, 2014 to October 26, 2014
Yangzhou, Jiangsu, China
Fifty current and alumni fellows attended the four-day 2014 U.S.-China Young Leaders Forum in Yangzhou, Jiangsu. With a theme of “(Re)Defining Moments,” fellows discussed some of the critical thresholds they’ve reached and crossed – sometimes knowingly, sometimes unwittingly – that have had profound impacts on what has followed for them, and engaged in other interesting, provocative cross-cultural conversation and activity.
2013 Young Leaders Forum
December 8, 2013 to December 12, 2013
Thirty-six fellows attended the 2013 Young Leaders Forum in Austin, Texas, including eight new Chinese and nine new American fellows. The diverse participants at this year’s forum included entrepreneurs, academics, a composer, a business school dean, two CEOs, an architect, an astronaut, a food and wine critic, a U.S. Air Force colonel and an artist. The theme of the forum, appropriate for the highly motivated group, was “Drive,” and presentations by fellows, touching on careers, families, challenges and successes sparked a range of thoughtful interactions. With a growing roster of more than 130 fellows, YLF fosters the development of close connections, mutual understanding and collaborative relationships among members of the next generation of leaders of American and Chinese societies.