Applicants for the program should be American or German younger and mid-career experts who have demonstrated some experience, are in relatively early stages of their career, and show promise in their given field. Delegates are selected from a wide variety of backgrounds, including government, business, the military, the arts, and law, to name a few. The program is designed to broaden the horizons of those who do not have extensive exposure to the transatlantic relationship, thus preference is given to Americans with limited to no experience in Germany and Germans with less experience in the United States. While self-nominations are accepted, delegates are typically nominated by alumni of the program, members of the Council, and other interested sources.
Nominations should consist of a resume and letter of recommendation outlining what distinguishes the applicant as a leader, how s/he can contribute to the conference, and how the experience will benefit his/her future professional and personal development. Candidates are asked to submit a personal statement outlining what they plan to contribute to the conference and what they hope to get out of the experience, as well as a copy of their passport photo page.
In a highly selective process, participants are chosen by a Steering Committee that is made up of prominent Young Leader alumni and officers of the American Council on Germany. Hundreds of applications are received each year and 50 people are selected to participate. Applications are considered early in the year for the coming summer’s conference.