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The Young Strategists Forum seeks to develop a new generation of strategic thinkers and equip them with the skills to successfully navigate a world in flux. Since the inaugural Young Strategists Forum in March 2012, GMF has built a vibrant program centered on the theme of the US-Japan alliance and security dynamics in the Indo-Pacific region. Held in Tokyo, the program emphasizes the importance of pursuing purposeful grand strategic objectives through an innovative combination of lectures, a 36-hour simulation exercise, meetings with policy makers, diplomats, senior journalists and leading academics, and a study tour that includes a visit to a military facility. 

Participants are selected through a competitive process, open to emerging leaders — academics, journalists, policy makers, politicians, business professionals, and military officers — between the ages of 25 and 40, from the United States, Europe, Japan, and other like-minded Asian countries.

Since its creation, the Young Strategists Forum has cultivated a vibrant network of emerging foreign policy leaders. 111 individuals have participated in the Young Strategists Forum, many of whom have risen to prominent positions in their respective professions. Learn more about the YSF alumni network.

Application Information

The German Marshall Fund of the United States is now accepting applications for the ninth Young Strategists Forum to be held from January 27 to February 1, 2023. To apply, submit the application form, a current resume or CV, and a personal statement explaining why you are applying for the Young Strategists Forum and how you will contribute to and benefit from this program (no more than 750 words). GMF will accept applications on a rolling basis but no later than Monday, October 31 at 11:59 pm ET. Early application is strongly encouraged.

The Young Strategists Forum is open to emerging leaders—academics, journalists, policymakers, business professionals, and military officers—from the United States, Europe, Japan, and other like-minded countries in the Indo-Pacific. Applicants should be between the ages of 25 and 40 as of December 31, 2022. Interested individuals who are outside of this age range are still welcome to apply, but please be aware that the selection committee may prioritize qualified applicants who meet all of the eligibility requirements and other selection criteria.

The 2023 iteration of the Young Strategists Forum will begin with a half-day, interactive seminar led by Bonnie Glaser, director of the GMF Asia Program. The seminar will help participants to understand strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific. This will be followed by a 36-hour grand strategy simulation led by Zack Cooper, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and co-Director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at GMF. Participants will take on the roles of the United States and major regional powers as they pursue long-term goals and carefully allocate military, diplomatic, and economic resources while navigating a series of crises. At the end of the exercise, participants will be debriefed on lessons learned. The simulation will be followed by a two-day study tour focused on the US-Japan alliance. Participants will have an opportunity to visit a major military facility and to interact with Japanese experts, politicians, business leaders, and government officials to gain a high-level perspective on Japanese strategic thinking. To give participants an opportunity to share their perspectives on key military, political, and economic issues, GMF will publish a series of papers by Young Strategists Forum participants after the conclusion of the program in Tokyo.

The details of the 2023 Young Strategists Forum have not yet been finalized, but typical program itinerary follows the following format:

• Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo, Japan

• Day 2: Opening Seminar and Grand Strategy Simulation, Part 1

• Day 3: Grand Strategy Simulation, Part 2

• Day 4: Meetings with Japanese Officials, Politicians, and Business Leaders

• Day 5: Visit to Military Facility, Meetings with Japanese Security Experts

• Day 6: Departure

International airfare, domestic travel, meals, accommodations, and ground transportation during the Young Strategists Forum will be covered by the organizers.

If you have any questions, please contact GMF Asia program assistant Julia Pallanch at [email protected].

Six Lessons from a Decade of Asia Strategy Simulations

How can the United States and its allies and partners succeed in the Indo-Pacific and better prepare for long-term competition in the region? Zack Cooper and Aaron Friedberg suggest six lessons drawn from a decade of simulations conducted during GMF's Young Strategists Forum.

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