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Global Shapers Community Charter Last update: 20/Oct/2020

The Global Shapers Community Charter is the guiding compass that enables alignment in a global organization. All Global Shapers Hubs are mandated to create a local charter that abides to the global one. This charter contains:

  1. Mission and Objectives
  2. Membership Benefits
  3. Membership Criteria
  4. Membership Diversity
  5. Membership Commitment
  6. Governance of Global Shapers Hubs
  7. Governance of the Global Shapers Community
  8. Global Shapers Alumni Network
  9. Financial Sustainability

1. Mission and objectives

To build a community of outstanding young people committed to improving the state of the world. With its motto ‘Shape Your Future’ – integrating personal, community and global dimensions – the Global Shapers Community is a global movement of young people, influencing positive change through dialogue and action. Our objectives are consistently delivered through three pillars – Interaction, Insight and Impact:

1.1 The community is vitalized by the many interactions generated inside each hub, between hubs and on a global level. These interactions always include relevant local or global stakeholders. Complementing face-to-face meetings, emphasis is also placed on virtual dimensions – enabling Shapers to collaborate and learn from each other and through the Forum’s members and constituents.

1.2 The community creates value together with the World Economic Forum by providing Shapers with insights that engender a better understanding of the global, regional and industry agendas. Shapers also self-organise to generate youth-driven insights.

1.3 The community delivers impact by catalysing and enhancing, individually and collectively, innovative solutions to pressing local and global challenges. Shapers are engaged in projects related to specific challenges identified by the local hub and by the Global Shapers Team head-quartered in Geneva. Hub projects must benefit local stakeholders and are not for the benefit of members of the Global Shapers Community. Hubs that do not adopt a hub project in their city within the first 12 months after founding will lose their status. Hubs need to demonstrate their social engagement on TopLink.

The Global Shapers Community (GSC) also collaborates with local stakeholders and members of the World Economic Forum, including leaders from business, government and civil society.

2. Membership Benefits

Becoming a member of the GSC provides individuals the opportunity to:

2.1 Belong to a network of young leaders who collaborate to shape a better future.

2.2 Further develop leadership skills and capabilities through custom programmes, workshops, informal gatherings, mentorship, etc. curated by local hubs.

2.3 Gain in-depth exposure to thought-leadership and knowledge of global, regional and industry issues.

2.4 Initiate and contribute to local, regional and global initiatives towards improving the state of the world.

2.5 Organise and attend regional gatherings of the GSC. (Such Shaper-organised events must be coordinated with the Global Shapers Team. Ideally, they should be organised around the Regional Meetings of the World Economic Forum and a member of the Global Shapers Team should attend. Shaper-led gatherings organised independently of a World Economic Forum event should also be coordinated between the Global Shapers Team).

2.6 Engage with the broader World Economic Forum community and its members and constituents, catalysed through face-to-face and virtual means.

2.7 Connect digitally to the Global Shapers Community via Toplink. This private network is designed to provide support to the GSC globally and locally.

  • Locally, it provides a safe space for members of the same hub to interact virtually while fulfilling activities that they undertake as part of the community.
  • Globally, it facilitates global collaboration and the sharing of best practices.
  • TopLink also enables the community to scale effectively and efficiently, without diminishing the value proposition to any individual hub or any individual Shaper. It provides a knowledge base that serves to highlight the activities of the GSC – for example, by providing content to highlight impactful projects and activities on our website.
  • Lastly, it provides unparalleled insight into the priorities and interests of community members.

3. Membership Criteria

Members of the Global Shapers Community must be:

3.1 Young people with a track record of verifiable achievements or who demonstrate potential.

3.2 Between 18 and 27 years old at the time of TopLink onboarding.

3.3 Committed to working with other members of their hub to improve their local community.

3.4 Young people from all walks of life and who share a spirit of entrepreneurship in the public interest.

3.5 Young people with entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial experience in delivering major projects, founding companies or organisations and/or having been in an influential position as part of a larger organisation, contributing to serving society at large.

3.6 Resident or otherwise physically close to the communities in which their hub is based.

3.7 Ready to deeply engage in the GSC, reinforcing its mission and objectives and supporting their fellow Shapers in their individual and professional development.

As the foremost community of young leaders in their 20s, the Global Shapers Community is youth-led and community-focused. The GSC has Selection Guidelines to help hubs to identify and select the best members and provide them with opportunities to nurture their leadership, commitment to society, as well as their potential to contribute to shaping the future.

4. Membership Diversity

Each hub must:

4.1 Achieve optimal diversity in its membership. This diversity must be in religion, gender, ethnicity and all manner of differences that exist within the community where the hub is based. Neither male nor female membership can be lower than 30% of total hub membership.

4.2 Have no more than 3 Shapers from the same organisation and/or company (as their main professional affiliation), nor may hubs select siblings or partners of existing members.

4.3 After 12 months of operation, have a minimum of 20 Shapers. All hubs that do not reach 20 Shapers within 12 months of creation may lose their mandate and be closed by the Global Shapers Team.

4.4 The number of Shapers in a hub may not exceed 50. If there is significant demand and potential to have more than 50 Shapers, then one or even several additional hubs within the same city may be created. New hub(s) will be independent and have their own leadership and membership.

5. Membership Commitments

Being selected to join the Global Shapers Community implies certain commitments. By becoming a member Shapers agree to:

5.1 Endorse the mission and objectives in this Charter.

5.2 Adhere to the strongest principles of moral and intellectual integrity.

5.2 Embody the spirit of our values, code of conduct and anti-harassment policy.

5.3 Actively engage by participating each year in at least one of the local hub’s projects and one global activity developed by the Global Shapers Team in Geneva.

5.4 Regularly engage in the hub’s physical and virtual activities throughout the year, while also recognizing the global contributions of our members to our governing bodies.

5.5 Contribute to the financial sustainability of the community, for example by supporting activities undertaken with partners of the community.

5.6 Adhere to the principle that the Shapers community is impartial, independent and tied to no political, ideological or partisan interests, except of being a young entrepreneurial voice in shaping the future.

5.7 Inform their hub if significant changes appear in their position in society.

5.8 Transition to the GSC Alumni Network per the Alumni eligibility outlined below.

5.9 Be assessed against these commitments and step down from the GSC or its Alumni Network should they be unable to meet the conditions and commitments stated above.

6. Governance of Hubs in the Global Shapers Community

The pillars of the Global Shapers Community are its people – the Global Shapers – and its hubs. Each hub is organised in an autonomous way and must develop its own Local Guidelines adapted to the local context but which adhere to all the principles outlined in this Charter and that also align with official Community Guidelines.

Unless otherwise indicated, Guideline documents of the Global Shapers Community can be found online in the community’s TopLink Library. In the event of any conflict between Local Guidelines and the Charter (and official Community Guidelines), the Charter (and official Community Guidelines) will prevail.

Hubs help engage Shapers as active participants in local, regional and global affairs. Hubs also provide Shapers with the opportunity to actively develop and contribute to initiatives which focus on future-oriented local and global challenges that this community is uniquely positioned to address. Hubs act as a force ensuring that all Shapers are united by a shared sense of purpose to work together to improve our communities, locally and globally, overcoming all differences that come from our diversity.

To facilitate Hub Governance, the following rules apply:

6.1 Each hub is part of the global network – the Global Shapers Community – whose Headquarters are in Geneva at the Global Shapers Community Foundation.

6.2 Communities develop through personal interaction. Therefore, hubs place special emphasis on ensuring that Shapers have an opportunity to meet by organising meetings and activities that generate a positive impact.

6.3 Each hub develops its own activities/programming and selects its own projects. The Global Shapers Team provides assistance in securing additional opportunities for engagement, especially in projects with global impact. Examples of hub activities may include: custom workshops and initiatives that provide leadership training and mentorship opportunities or exclusive insight on specific issues; engaging in local projects or interactive ‘meet the leader’ series with other members and constituents of the World Economic Forum; etc.

6.4 Hubs should be a safe space for the personal and professional development of each member. As a guiding principle every Shaper should have the opportunity to participate in an interaction that enhances his/her personal and professional capacity.

6.5 Each hub will have in place a Code of Conduct for hub members to ensure that there is alignment on the local expectations of each member. This document must not contradict the Global Shapers Community’s Code of Conduct. In the event of any doubt, the community’s Code of Conduct prevails.

6.6 The Hub must remain impartial and independent and therefore cannot be formed on any political, cultural, racial, religious or thematic/topical basis. Each Hub must be a safe space for young people who share the objectives of the Community to self-organise for impact and strengthen the voice of young people across a range of issues.

6.7 For activities and projects we insist on a Foundation policy of “opt in” whereby the Global Shapers Community Foundation never dictates to any Hub or to any Shaper what they must do. Instead opportunities are provided and every Hub and every Shaper can choose to “opt in.”

6.8 Each Shaper expresses himself or herself in his/her own personal capacity and not on behalf of the Global Shapers Community.

6.9 During the inaugural year of each Hub, the Hub may be led and mentored by a Founding Curator for whom the age criterion does not apply. Founding Curators are appointed by the Global Shapers Community Foundation.

6.10 By 31 March of each year, each Hub must elect a new Curator to act as the Hub Chair and whose mandate begins 1 July. A Global Shaper may serve as Curator for a maximum of two non-consecutive terms. In exceptional cases a Curator may serve consecutive terms. Elections and any exceptional situations are handled as outlined in the Election Guidelines.

6.11 The current Curator, together with the past Curator (Outgoing Curator) and the Vice Curator, form the Curatorship of each Hub. For the 3 months between 31 March and 1 July the Curatorship is responsible for governing the affairs of the Hub. Other leadership roles (e.g. Recruitment, Secretary, etc.) can be created, and these roles may either be on an elected or appointed basis as determined by the membership of the Hub. The World Economic Forum’s main contact will remain the current Curator.

6.13 Each Hub must define an agreed-upon process for removing a Curator who does not fulfill his or her duties and share this with the Forum. In the event that a Curator steps down prior to the completion of his or her term, the Vice-Curator will assume the role.

6.14 To ensure good governance, the Hub must designate a Shaper to serve as Treasurer. If the role is not allocated as a separate function, the Curator will remain responsible for ensuring the financial responsibility, accountability and transparency of the Hub’s finances.

6.15 In the absence of a specific selection process for a Hub, the Curatorship of each Hub is responsible for selecting potential members of the highest caliber and integrity, always adhering to the membership criteria outlined in this Charter. Likewise, in the absence of a termination process for a local Hub, the Curatorship is responsible for terminating memberships should membership rules be violated. These matters are governed by the Termination Guidelines.

6.16 The Curatorship is responsible for providing an annual report to Global Shapers Community Foundation Headquarters about its members and its activities no later than 30 August (covering the period: 1 July to 30 June).

6.17 The Curatorship mobilises its members to collaborate with the Global Shapers Community Foundation on global initiatives and engage Shapers in existing activities of the World Economic Forum and its communities. All relevant information must be continuously updated on the Global Shapers Community platform.

The Curatorship actively works to ensure that its activities reflect positively on the Global Shapers Community and the World Economic Forum in the spirit of entrepreneurship in the global public interest.

7. Governance of the Global Shapers Community

The Global Shapers Community is incorporated as an independent, neutral, not-for-profit Swiss Foundation working under the patronage of the World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum also provides access to all its other communities and activities - the top leaders from politics, business, civil society, media, science, arts and culture, faith - with the objective to provide a maximum of possibilities for interaction and mutual mentorship to achieve the objectives of the Global Shapers Community.

The Global Shapers Community is governed by a Foundation Board responsible for ensuring the identity, intellectual and moral integrity, long-term vision and good governance of the Global Shapers Community. The Board includes:

7.1 Two senior members of the World Economic Forum

7.2 Five outstanding mentors representing the World Economic Forum’s members and constituents

7.3 At least two active Global Shapers balanced in aspects like region, gender, sector, etc.

In addition to the Board of Trustees, the Global Shapers Community is managed by a dedicated team based at the Headquarters – the Global Shapers Team – whose responsibilities include:

7.4 Providing overall monitoring and guidance to local Hubs to ensure that the membership, events and activities of each Hub remain consistent with this Charter and the mission the Forum.

7.5 Creating new Hubs and approving their Charters and their membership. Likewise, the Global Shapers Team is also in charge of determining the closure of Hubs if not aligned with this Charter.

7.6 Administering all brand and reputation issues.

7.7 Developing the Global Shapers Community platform to optimize interaction predominantly via the digital network mentioned above. This includes selecting and approving special applications to be integrated into the platform. These apps will provide Shapers with a comprehensive set of networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration tools aimed at enhancing their personal and professional development.

7.8 Advising Hub Curators on sensitive issues, serving as a sounding board and consultative body.

7.9 Developing or authorizing global and regional initiatives, including events jointly with the Community, providing support towards the awareness-raising and execution of such initiatives and engaging Shapers in existing activities of the World Economic Forum, its communities and other organisations working on issues that are relevant to young people.

7.10 Engaging with the Community to select Shapers to represent that Community at events such as World Economic Forum Global Meetings and Regional Summits and other non-Forum events. Selected Shapers will be asked to actively participate in the main program (e.g. as speakers in panels, as discussion facilitators, etc.) subject to availability and fit with the program.

  • Global Meetings: Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland; Annual Meeting of the New Champions, China; Annual Summit on the Global Agenda, United Arab Emirates
  • Regional Summits/Meetings: Africa, East Asia, Europe and Central Asia, India, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, North America.

7.11 Engaging with the Community to select Shapers to participate in activities beyond events. Such activities may be World Economic Forum activities or activities of organisations working on issues that are relevant to young people.

7.12 Fostering an entrepreneurial environment across all Hubs, whereby experiences are collectively shared to enhance learning across the Community.

7.13 Organising an Annual Curators Meeting that convenes all Hub Curators with the purpose of strengthening the capacity of the Community to fulfill its objectives.

8. Global Shapers Alumni Network

Global Shapers become eligible to transition to the GSC Alumni Network when they have been verified members for at least 5 years or when they reach the maximum permitted age (30 or 33 years depending on when they joined). The detailed process is described in the Alumni Charter. Alumni are valued as advocates and strategic supporters of the GSC. They use their intellectual and financial resources to ensure the Community’s high-quality growth and development. In addition, they benefit from their affiliation, receiving access to the Community’s digital platform and local and regional SHAPE activities.

9. Financial Sustainability

The World Economic Forum is a not-for-profit organization covering its costs through partnership arrangements and cost contributions of its members. The World Economic Forum supports the financial sustainability of the Global Shapers Community by supporting the costs of the Global Shapers Community Foundation which include administrative overheads of the global community, including the costs of the Global Shapers Team (staff at the Headquarters and shared resources); such as the website and private interactive platform among others. The Global Shapers Community also secures partnerships that provide direct funding for its activities.

In addition:

  1. Each Hub is responsible for its own financial sustainability.
  2. Each Hub must support the sustainability of the Global Shapers Community.
  3. In keeping with the not-for-profit nature of the Global Shapers Community Foundation, neither individual members nor local Hubs can pursue any commercial interests in the context of the Global Shapers activities.

The Global Shapers Community encourages thinking BIG – beyond boundaries. It allows young people to channel their tremendous energy and enthusiasm towards building a more peaceful, prosperous and inclusive world.

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