Six Nigerians have been selected out of eleven finalists for the second cohort of the British Council Future Leaders Connect programme. The eleven finalists pitched their policy ideas at the Nigeria Heat event which took place recently in Lagos.

The Future Leaders Connect programme identifies exceptional individuals (aged 18-35) from around the world and builds a long-term network of emerging policy leaders. At the programme the young leaders are trained on how to develop their policy making expertise and gain the skills to make genuine impact. To participate in the programme, interested future leaders were asked to apply stating their area of policy interest and proposed intervention.

In this edition, over nine thousand people applied for the programme in Nigeria and eleven finalists were selected by a panel in the UK and Nigeria. The eleven finalists were invited to a pitch event in Lagos to present their policy ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience.

Each finalist gave a five-minute presentation explaining why their policy idea will improve the world, and demonstrate that they had the competence to lead on the desired change. The winners will join others around the world from Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Tunisia, the USA and UK in the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect programme. The programme is scheduled to take place in the United Kingdom in October this year, where members of Future Leaders Connect will meet with members of the UK Houses of Parliament, learning from today’s decision makers, seeing effective policy making first hand, and discussing the most significant global issues facing the next generation globally. They will also meet with inspiring leaders and policymakers and take part in a number of days of advanced leadership training and policy discussions at The Møller Centre, Churchill College Cambridge.

Discussed at the heat event were policies around female genital mutilation, increasing access to contraceptives, violence against women and gender inequality, cyber-bullying laws, access to healthcare, and more. The 2018 winners are Mary Dinah, Edwin Oyoma Akpotor, Dolapo Oladayo Olaniyan, David Oluwadiya Ashaolu, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, and Yemisi Christiana Fawibe. They will be travelling to the UK in October to become part of a global network of emerging policy leaders.

While commenting on this year’s event, Adetomi Soyinka, Director Higher Education, Skills and Enterprise British Council alluded that “through Future Leaders Connect programme we are helping a new generation to understand practical policy development by putting them in contact with the leaders of today and helping them to develop the skills and international contacts they need to make positive change.”

Speaking on the selection process, one of the judges Habiba Balogun, an Organisation Effectiveness Specialist, Certified Leadership Coach and the Director and Principal Partner, Habiba Balogun Consulting said: “All the finalists’ presentations were impressive and reaching a decision was quite an intense process. However, the process was made transparent and fair for me and the other judges due to the predetermined criteria against which the contestants were judged which were; relevance of policy, clarity and presentation, and leadership quality.”

For more on Future Leaders Connect programme, visit
Photo: Winners from L-R: Mary Dinah, Edwin Oyoma Akpotor, Dolapo Oladayo Olaniyan, David Oluwadiya Ashaolu, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, and Yemisi Christiana Fawibe.