In 1992 Schwab established a parallel institution, the Global Leaders for Tomorrow school, which was re-established as Young Global Leaders in 2004. Attendees at the school must apply for admission and are then subjected to a rigorous selection process. Members of the school’s very first class in 1992 already included many who went on to become important liberal political figures, such as Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Tony Blair. There are currently about 1,300 graduates of this school, and the list of alumni includes several names of those who went on to become leaders of the health institutions of their respective nations. Four of them are former and current health ministers for Germany, including Jens Spahn, who has been Federal Minister of Health since 2018. Philipp Rösler, who was Minister of Health from 2009 until 2011, was appointed the WEF’s Managing Director by Schwab in 2014.
Other notable names on the school’s roster are Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand whose stringent lockdown measures have been praised by global health authorities; Emmanuel Macron, the President of France; Sebastian Kurz, who was until recently the Chancellor of Austria; Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary; Jean-Claude Juncker, former Prime Minister of Luxembourg and President of the European Commission; and Annalena Baerbock, the leader of the German Greens who was the party’s first candidate for Chancellor in this year’s federal election, and who is still in the running to be Merkel’s successor. We also find California Governor Gavin Newsom on the list, who was selected for the class of 2005, as well as former presidential candidate and current US Secretary of Transportation Peter Buttigieg, who is a very recent alumnus, having been selected for the class of 2019. All of these politicians who were in office during the past two years have favored harsh responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and which also happened to considerably increase their respective governments’ power.