Young Leaders Program

The traditional, interdisciplinary exchange and discussion program connects young German and American leaders: After a six-day opening conference, they become alumni of the global Young Leaders Network.

For more than five decades, the German-American Young Leaders Conference has been one of Atlantik-Brücke’s most prestigious programs. Each year, the most promising young professionals from the United States and Germany come together for an inspiring interdisciplinary exchange that spans continents, worldviews, and industries. Through an exciting six-day program, the Young Leaders Conference creates a unique platform for networking, developing innovative ideas, and laying the groundwork for the transatlantic relations of tomorrow. Participants engage in discussions on the most pressing political, economic, and social issues within dynamic working sessions, meetings with high-level guest speakers, and enriching site visits. This fosters not only mutual understanding but also creates sustainable professional as well as personal bridges between aspiring talents from both countries. Following the conference, Atlantik-Brücke Young Leaders become part of the global alumni network.

How Do You Become a Young Leader?

Every year, 50 aspiring young professionals from different sectors are selected for the Young Leaders Conference – 25 from the USA and 25 from Germany. Interested persons must be aged 28-35 and hold American and/or German citizenship. A high-ranking jury selects the conference participants at the end of a highly competitive multi-stage selection process.

Summary of the Selection Process:

1. Nomination (December-January):
During the nomination phase (Call for Nominations), from early December to mid-January, Young Leaders Alumni and members of Atlantik-Brücke are invited to nominate up to two individuals. Eligible nominees must be aged 28-35 and hold American and/or German citizenship for the Young Leaders Conference.

2. Invitation to Apply (January-February):
Nominated individuals receive the exclusive opportunity to apply for the Young Leaders Conference from mid-January to mid-February (Call for Applications). This is an invitation to showcase their leadership qualities and interest in transatlantic relation.

3. Selection by Jury (until May):
In the final step, all applications are thoroughly reviewed by a high-ranking selection committee. This jury, consisting of 15-20 experienced experts from politics, business, media, and other sectors, ultimately selects the approx. 25 American and 25 German participants. All applicants will receive feedback on their applications by the end of May.

4. Young Leaders Conference (August):
The six-day conference traditionally takes place in August, with the location alternating annually between the United States and Germany. Atlantik-Brücke covers all costs incurred during the conference, including accommodation, group meals, bus transfers, and activities. However, participants or their employers are responsible for covering the costs associated with travel to and from the conference.


Which qualities should Young Leaders heave?

To become an Atlantik-Brücke Young Leader, applicants should:

  • – Have assumed leadership responsibilities
    Applicants should demonstrate that they have taken initial steps in leadership positions, whether in their professional environment or beyond.
  • – Show societal engagement alongside professional activities
    Applicants should demonstrate societal or voluntary engagement alongside their professional responsibilities.
  • – Have a strong interest in transatlantic issues
    Applicants should have a clear interest and understanding of transatlantic issues and relations. This can be demonstrated through professional experience, academic studies, or personal projects, among other means.
  • – Demonstrate a willingness to actively participate
    Young Leaders should not only participate in the conference but also demonstrate a willingness to actively contribute to its preparation, as well as to stay involved in the alumni network.


Young Leaders Alumni

Since the first German-American Young Leaders Conference in 1973, Atlantik-Brücke has created an extensive alumni network bringing together people from different countries, professions, and generations. Alumni have ascended to leadership positions in US and German politics, the European Union, as well as in the fields of business, finance, media, military, and academia.

Atlantik-Brücke is committed to actively promote the alumni network. Events and conferences are organized to facilitate ongoing exchange among Young Leaders Alumni across the Atlantic. Moreover, special emphasis is also placed on fostering encounters and dialogue with Atlantik-Brücke members. The Young Leaders Alumni network currently boast around 1,800 individuals from both United States and Germany.

Contact Person

If you have any question about Atlantik-Brücke’s Young Leaders Program, feel free to reach out:
Tobias Luthe, Head of Young Leaders Program, Atlantik-Brücke:

Social Media & Newsletter


Engaging in conversations, exploring solutions, forming friendships
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Passing storm or tectonic shift?
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German-American Young Leaders Conference 2016
Idyllic Lake Starnberg was once again the setting for Atlantik-Brücke’s Young Leaders conference. This year’s group discussed a broad scope of topics, ranging from the opportunities of digitization to populism in Europe and the US as well as the current state of affairs in Europe. A host of prominent guest speakers joined the Young Leaders: […]
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37th German-American Young Leaders Conference
At the end of July, the 2015 cohort of Atlantik-Brücke Young Leaders came together in Queenstown, Maryland, for an intensive, week-long program under the headline »Managing Change in a Volatile World: A Task for Transatlantic Leaders«. Forty-seven participants with diverse professional backgrounds from Germany and the United States met with high-level guest speakers, exchanged views […]
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