French-American Foundation celebrates 2019 ‘Young Leaders’

The French-American Foundation on Thursday unveiled the winners of their annual Young Leaders Program, a diverse group of government officials, business leaders, public advocates and educators.

The program, now in its 38th year, brings together “a vibrant group of rising stars … from a vast array of sectors,” according to the foundation. The participants’ “common link is their passion for forging bonds in a globalized world and using their influence for the common good.”

This year’s French and American winners represent a number of major organizations, including the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, city governments and major health companies and hospitals.{mosads}

Emeline Foster, the executive director of the French-American Foundation, said the two-year program is an opportunity for leaders in both countries to form meaningful bonds.

“The idea is to go beyond networking and make sure that a greater connection are created between the French and American leaders,” she said. 

The program’s Young Leaders from 2018 and 2019 will meet in Chicago for five days this October, the foundation said, “discussing issues of common concern, meeting with local and global specialists, and getting to know one another.”

And they will join an illustrious group of alumni, numbering more than 500 members. Past program members include French President Emanuel Macron, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

Even amid tensions between the Trump administration and U.S. allies over a host of issues, Foster said the program highlights the enduring strength of those ties.

Foster said this year the foundation received the highest number of applications ever.

“It shows that there is an important interest in the French-American relationship,” she said.


The U.S. winners for this year are:

Geoffrey Chepiga, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Chloe Demrovsky, President and CEO, Disaster Recovery Institute International

Shaun Gordon, Founder and CEO, Pristine Environments; Managing Partner, AGI Partners LLC

Christina Grant, Assistant Superintendent, The School District of Philadelphia

Barkha Gvalani, Partner, GV

Adam Hodge, Senior Vice President, SKDKnickerbocker

Leen Kawas, President and CEO, Athira Pharma, Inc.

Bhama Ramkhelawon, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Cell Biology; Director of Vascular Research Program, New York University Langone Medical Center

Kabir Sehgal, Founder and CEO, MFT Productions

Adam Sotomayor, Foreign Affairs Officer, Bureau of Counterterrorism & Countering Violent Extremism, US Department of State


This year’s French winners are:

Rania Belkahia, President and Co-Founder, Afrimarket

Nicolas de Bellefonds, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group; Leader, BCG GAMMA France

Erwin Bruder, Lieutenant-Colonel, Armée de Terre

Félicie Burelle, Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Strategy and Development Director; Plastic Omnium

Pierre-Yves Frouin, President, BioSerenity

Nicole Karam, Associate Professor in Interventional Cardiology, Georges Pompidou European Hospital, Paris-Descartes University

Laurence Lascary, Producer, DE L’AUTRE COTÉ DU PÉRIPH’  

Arnaud Mentré, Consul General of France in Boston

Delphine O, Ambassador and Secretary General, UN Women’s Global Forum

Tony Pinville, Chief Executive Officer, Heuritech

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