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Youth Lead by Youth Lead

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Youth Lead is a green leadership program in China that envisions a sustainable world of opportunity and prosperity for youths and by youths.



Youth Lead ( is a social enterprise based in China that focuses on green youth leadership and entrepreneurship, designed to build up and gather together a green talent pool to drive and lead global sustainable development.

The world today faces critical issues on climate action. Talented youth leadership is needed more urgently than ever to support a global process in tackling climate change and mainstreaming the sustainability agenda. Youth Lead was established with this challenge in mind with the support of The Climate Group "China Youth Project" and geared towards arousing and enhancing the vision, perspectives, ambition and commitment among youths that will be needed for global sustainable development through “Offering Training”, “Conducting Research”, “Organizing Trips”, “Accelerating Careers”, and “Providing Networking”. We believe we are able to achieve our vision of a world with low carbon emissions, full of opportunity and prosperity for youths and by youths.

Category of action

Youth Leadership on Climate Change

What actions do you propose?

Youth Lead aims to provide a group of innovative young people with the professional training they need to become the future leaders of China's sustainable economy. The project's long-term aim is to expand beyond China to become a global training program.

We cultivate the future leaders through “Offering Training”, “Conducting Research”, “Organizing Trips”, “Accelerating Careers”, and “Providing Networking”.

Youth Lead is the main part of Youth Lead You Change Program, which was launched by Rt Hon Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister; Qiao Wei, Vice Chairman of All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese; Wu Changhua, Greater China Director of The Climate Group; Niu Gensheng, the founder of LAONIU Foundation on Dec. 13th, 2013.

1. Offering Training

(1) Public Speech in Campus

One of the reasons why the green industry lacks talent is that young people lack interest in this field. Public speeches held in schools throughout the country should inspire more young people to opt for green entrepreneurship and employment, which will bolster the efforts of our green transformation. The goal of holding speeches in campus is to open students’ minds to the realities of climate change and green industry, with topics being covered by speakers who are professionals and have related knowledge and working experience in this field. This will give young students awareness and help them plan for the future, especially for students who haven’t decided on their future careers. Youth Lead will recruit professional volunteers as speakers from the Internet and our network, and choose suitable universities to hold speeches by cooperating with clubs of local universities or founding our own clubs.

(2) Courses:

Gaining related knowledge is necessary to be a great green leader. Youth Lead will maximize the rapid development of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). While we produce our own online courses focusing on China’s sustainable development, we will also make sure that students fully utilize the existing courses. Students will be lectured and tutored by the brightest academic minds in the climate change field online.

Youth Lead has started to cooperate with the Future Academy to record a lecture series of round table discussions with inspirational climate innovators and great thinkers that we will telecast across our community. Future Academy is a low carbon leadership program launched by The Climate Group and its partners. The students enrolled in its MBA-modeled program will have the opportunity to work with business leaders, academics and experts to analyze the corporate sustainability and innovation strategies of Chinese companies. In the first season, six Chinese companies having their corporate sustainability and innovation strategies are used as case studies, including Vantone Group, Broad Group, Xinao Concrete Group, Shanghai Shenzhou Auto Technology Company and the 3rd Coal-fired Power Plant of Shanghai Waigaoqiao.

Youth Lead will also organize students who take the online courses to get together offline to meet with each other and finish homework together.

2. Conducting Research

The International Research of China Regional Sustainable Development (IRCRSD) is an on-the-spot research project that strengthens the exchange and cooperation between Chinese and foreign young people on sustainable development in regions by connecting the university students with the Chinese local government. Our program develops high-level innovation skills in students and young professionals. We provide individuals from a range of different backgrounds with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the transition to a sustainable energy society by studying real-life projects, throughout China.

Having established a strong network with Chinese local public bodies, Youth Lead is developing cases of sustainable development at city level in China and is utilizing university students to conduct research and publish reports.

The recruitment will begin each fall and will be open to young students from China and other countries whose professional backgrounds are related to environment, energy, economy, public policy, sustainability, and other related fields. The participants will receive a week’s learning and training in the US mainly focusing on the circular economy, ecological development, industrial symbiosis, environment restoration, research methods, and other related knowledge. With the help of the excellent educational resources in the US, it will improve the comprehensive theoretical level and practical abilities of participants.

During the summer time, the international participants will come to China and conduct field research in Chinese rural areas together with their Chinese peers with the support of local governments, enterprises and scholars. The research will start with a 10-day China Energy Trip (Module A) to help participants gain a big picture of China and Chinese green industry. After that, the Chinese and international youths will take a two-week field trip and carry out investigations by team to get data about the local politics, economy, environment, industry and culture. The topics of study will be determined by participants themselves according to their academic backgrounds and interests. Finally, each team will complete their proposal on their conclusions and give presentations at the workshop in Beijing at the end of trip.

After international participants come back home, they will keep in touch with their Chinese counterparts by email and/or Skype and will continue to cooperate online to finish the report.

By building a spirit of cooperation between the Chinese local government and world-class universities and institutes, the students can obtain a realistic experience of Chinese local development, meanwhile, they will be able to share and offer their insights and solutions to the local Chinese government about the problems and challenges they’re facing. The project will be beneficial to all parties involved: universities, local public bodies and young participants.

Youth Lead is going to kick off the first three topics of the International Investigation of China Regional Sustainable Development, which are: (1)The Chichui Watershed Eco-compensation Policy Research in Guizhou Province (2)The Research of policy of China Desertification Control in Kubuqi Desert (3) The Research of Roadmap of Establishing National Carbon Market in China.

3. Organizing Trips

When tackling climate change and environmental problems is concerned, the younger generations today share more common ground and a global vision of a sustainable and prosperous future regardless of race, culture or nation. As the two biggest economies and greenhouse gas emitters in the world, China and the US ought to set a good example in sustainable development. The close communication between the youth leaders in both countries will surely strengthen mutual understanding and stimulate innovative collaboration. Organizing Trips is a major highlight of Youth Lead to build up the program and to cultivate youth leadership for sustainable development.

China Energy Trip is a summer program designed for college students around the world to come to China to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of China's energy policy, market and development. In the last five years, the program has offered 81 international students from top universities including Harvard, MIT, Yale, Oxford, etc. to come to China and build up a network of youth talents for a global sustainable energy future.

China Energy Trip was first launched by the Western China Clean Energy Collaborative (WCCEC) of Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU) in 2010.In 2012, it had become a project supported by the EU Delegation to China. Now it is branded under Youth Lead. During a two-week trip, China Energy Trip is able to open students’ minds to energy career prospects while improving mutual understanding and contributing to solving global climate through the chance to meet and network with entrepreneurs, Chinese government officials, embassy diplomats, NGO leaders and peers from around the globe.

In February 2014, Youth Lead organized the first US Energy Trip as part of an innovative new program that provides training for the future leaders of China's sustainable economy. A delegation of 10 university students from China visited institutes and universities including The Climate Group’s NYC office, Columbia University, China Center of Vantone Group in New York, One Bryant Park, the World Bank, Johns Hopkins University, Woodrow Wilson Center, American University and MIT among others. The US Energy Trip aims to broaden the Chinese college students’ understanding of American energy and climate change policies, innovation and practices and marks a further enhanced communication and dialogue among the youth leaders in China and the US to join hands and minds to tackle climate change and energy security challenges.

Youth Lead plans to organize a second US Energy Trip in February 2015 and trips to Israel and Japan. The China Energy Trip 2015 will be open for applications soon.

4. Accelerating Careers

Personnel are key to the success of a global clean revolution. The world continues to move away from the reliance on fossil fuels, and is transforming towards a green and low carbon society. This will open up new jobs for green-minded and innovative people. Choosing green business and jobs, and becoming “green-collar”, has become an important youth employment trend and it is also the backbone of an increasingly serious employment situation today.

By integrating different recourses, Youth Lead is boosting young people’s green careers and green business in China.

(1) Internship and Job Recommendations

Youth Lead collects and provides internship and job information to young people who are willing to start their career in green field. Candidates may give us their resumes in advance and we will help find appropriate careers by matching them with companies that have appropriate vacancies for their backgrounds and career plans.

(2) Green Start-up Incubation

The Chinese greentech sector represents a real window of opportunity for the whole world. The green industry in China is growing year after year, seeking to produce environment-friendly products which should benefit the natural environment by adopting clean production technology and using harmless or less harmful new techniques, energy resources, and technology.

We help the young entrepreneurs involved with green technologies to connect with recources and enter China's market and accelerate their growth.

In the summer of 2015, Youth Lead will organize a startup tour in combination with China Energy Trip (Module B). Participants will get the opportunity to pitch to some of the world’s leading Venture Capital firms. There are visits to entrepreneurship hotspots like TusPark in Tsinghua University and La China incubator in Nanjing.

5. Providing Networking

(1) Green Salon

This salon would invite experienced talents and experts to conduct career lectures periodically. By introducing their career experience and sharing their opinions and thoughts of the field, the salon would kindle sparks of inspiration and enhance the communication between different brains. Green Salon is designed to be a beehive of brilliant ideas and opinions.

(2) Mentorship Program

The Mentorship Program designed by the Youth Lead offers the great opportunities for young people to exchange with and learn from experts and professionals in the fields of energy and environment. It also gives these experts and professionals a chance to share their insights and experiences with the next generation.

The Mentorship Program will recruit industry experts and professionals from governments, companies, universities, international organizations and NGOs. According to the student’s background and study goals, mentors will provide one-on-one guidance to enhance the integrative abilities of young people.

Who will take these actions?

  • Young students and professionals

The young students and professionals are the major participants. They’ll listen to the public speeches in campus, attend the Green Salon, participate the field trips and international research. They can also enjoy the personalized services, like getting a chance to communicate with professionals and obtaining job recommendations.

  • Young entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs can take part in the “Green Start-up Incubation” project. In this project, domestic and international young entrepreneurs will use the tools, opportunities and networks provided by Youth Lead to make their ideas commercial successful in China.

  • Schools

Our projects involve lots of training and research, so it is imperative to receive support from the schools that we work with. We are establishing cooperation with many universities. They will help publicize our projects to students while providing us with places for training, teaching resources and so on. The professors in this field will be our mentors, giving instructions to young students and entrepreneurs.

  • Foundation

We will also establishing relationship of cooperation with many foundations which can ensure the implement of our activities by providing financial support.

  • Enterprises

During our field trip, we will visit a lot of companies. By studying business models and sustainable patterns of company development, we will be able to better understand the whole industry. A host company would also be able to benefit from the case study because students would offer suggestions for its advancement.

  • Public bodies

Local government units and public bodies are some of our core beneficiaries and partners. Youth Lead could bring more international resources to boost the regional economy development and international research while also giving suggestions about local policies.

What are other key benefits?

Green talent is the key outcome of Youth Lead.

Through our projects, we cultivate lots of young professionals and young entrepreneurs by provide them training, financial and technological support and network, which is the key to the success of a global clean revolution.

By the international cooperation research on Chinese regional sustainable development, participants will find the real condition of local development and help to improve the environment and local economies through the actions afterwards.

Youth Lead bridges school, business and public by youth and pave the way for further cooperation and interaction domestically and internationally.

What are the proposal’s costs?


1. Human Resources Costs 120,000 USD/Year

2. Website Construction and run-on Costs 5,000 USD/Year

3.Travel Cost: 35,000 USD/Year

4. Campaign and Advocacy work: 50,000 USD/ Year

Time line

In the second half of 2014, Youth Lead plans to select 5 universities in Beijing and select 2 universities in Xi’an to set up 5 clubs. The clubs will take charge of preparation of lectures and recruit professional volunteers for the lectures and salons via website platform.

Jan.-Feb., 2015 U.S. Energy Trip, Israel Energy Trip

Mar.-Apr., 2015 China Energy Trip (Participants from Japan), Korea “Water Trip” (For Korea Water Forum);

Jun.-Aug., 2015 China Energy Trip, IRCRSD, U.S. Energy Trip, Japan Energy Trip and Europe Energy Trip;

Dec., 2015 Organize participants to take part in the Climate Change Conference held by the United Nations in Paris, France.

According to the volunteer recruit plan in the second half year of 2014, in the next 5 years, more and more universities and clubs will cooperate with the Youth Lead and our influence will be able to spread. By 2018, we may attract 2000 participants to join in our energy trip programs and 5000 people to take part in the free public salons, and through our lectures, we may be able to affect 20,000 people both directly and indirectly.

Meanwhile, we may help the green industry to prosper and give the entrepreneurs support and incubate more start-ups.

May we help the talents from abroad to initiate new careers in their related fields and strengthen international communication and cooperation.

Related proposals

Though it's a latecomer to industrialization, China's rapid economic development has made it the world's number one emitter of greenhouse gases. The booming economy has lifted millions out of poverty, but at huge environmental cost. Out of the world's most polluted 20 cities, half are in China. 70% of Chinese rivers are polluted to some degree. Now, the Chinese people have woken to the threat and, with the same zeal that we have embraced industrialization, we are embracing cleaner development.

As a green leadership program based in China, Youth Lead is looking forward to working with other young leaders around the world to make our world a better place.

We would like to cooperate with other youth leadership projects and contribute our Chinese resources and networks, such as:

Youth Action for Climate Change Awareness, Education and Research

Society for Climate Action

Global University for Climate Innovation and Invention

USES - Universal Sustainability Education System


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