• 2019 Young Leaders Conference

    Requirements and selection process

    Frequently asked questions

    Young Leader alumni programming

    For more information, email yl@acgusa.org

    A History of the Conference

    The conferences were inaugurated in 1973 as biennial meetings designed to give promising young Americans and Germans the opportunity to gain a better understanding of current policy issues, to exchange ideas, and to forge bonds with their counterparts. It was conceived and initiated by John Diebold, a prominent venture capitalist and Vice Chairman of the American Council on Germany. Upon invitation by the Board of Directors of the ACG, the Atlantik-Brücke joined the program as a partner organization, and in collaboration with Christopher Emmet, a founder of the ACG and its full-time Director, the first conference was held at Haus Rissen in Hamburg. Since 2005, these conferences have been sponsored solely by the American Council on Germany, with the Atlantik-Brücke holding their own.


Home / Young Leaders

Young Leaders

The ACG’s American-German Young Leaders Conference brings together up to 50 rising stars from government, business, journalism, academia, the military, and the non-profit sector for a week of intensive dialogue concerning domestic, bilateral, and global issues affecting both countries. In addition to enhancing participants’ understanding of the current international agenda, the conferences deepen mutual understanding among the next generation of thought leaders and decision-makers from the United States and Germany.

During the Young Leaders Conference, participants meet with high-level officials to hear their insider perspectives and also engage in working groups and plenary sessions to discuss solutions to today’s complex political, economic, and social challenges.

Young Leader Conferences have four main goals:

  • To provide a forum for bright, informed, and sophisticated young professionals to discuss major issues on the transatlantic agenda in an informal setting;
  • To encourage participants to deal frankly with pressing policy issues in their own terms, and to explore and debate their differences and common interests;
  • To engage a new generation of Germans and Americans in programs and activities designed to strengthen the transatlantic partnership; and
  • To create an enduring network of leaders from the “successor generation” on both sides of the Atlantic.

Young Leaders come away with much more than background knowledge and a week of dialogue; they gain a new understanding of the complex nuances of bilateral and global affairs and an enduring connection with a network of individuals who will strengthen and carry the transatlantic relationship into the future. The Young Leaders of today will go on to serve as key leaders of federal governments, multinational corporations, banks, the press, and more.

Conferences are held annually in Germany, and the working language is English.

Alumni include:

Michael D. Armstrong (2009)
General Manager of BET Networks

Paul S. Atkins (1993)
Former SEC Commissioner

Michael F. Bennet (1997)
United States Senator for Colorado

Rep. Joaquin Castro (2009)
Member of Congress, Texas

Jeffrey Feltman (1986)
Former Under Secretary General for Political Affairs at the United Nations

Anitere Flores (2015)
Florida State Senator

Francis Fukuyama (1985)
Author and Political Scientist

Hubertus Heil (2003)
Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs

Robert D. Hormats (1978)
Former Under Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State

Wolfgang Ischinger (1978)
Former German Ambassador to the
United States

Kenneth I. Juster (1989)
U.S. Ambassador to India

Jonathan Karl (1994)
Chief White House Correspondent
ABC News

Craig Kennedy (1986)
Former President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States

Julia Klöckner (2007)
German Minister of Food and Agriculture

Thomas de Maizière (1989)
Former German Federal Minister of the Interior

Catherine Cortez Masto (1998)
United States Senator for Nevada

Martin Ney (1991)
German Ambassador to India

Cem Özdemir (2001)
Member of the Bundestag (Alliance 90/The Greens)

Hans-Gert Poettering (1973)
Former President of the European Parliament

Major General Bill Rapp (1995)
Deputy Commander of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan

Charles Schumer (1975)
United States Senator for New York

Jens Weidmann (2004)
President of the Deutsche Bundesbank