About Us

Our Origins

The demand to have youth negotiators is as old as the UNFCCC itself. Youth have been calling for it for many years already.

In 2019 one of our co-founders, Marie-Claire, negotiated at the age of 23 at UNFCCC COP25 as part of the Swiss delegation. She reflected on just how little training or preparation there was for someone about to step onto these complex negotiations on behalf of her country.

One day, Marie-Claire, Heeta and Sophie were discussing this issue – as Sophie had encountered a similar issue in relation to leadership in the U.K. Together, they realised that whilst there were ample opportunities for young people to prepare young people to participate in climate change negotiations as observers, there were – to date – no programmes that aimed to equip and empower young people to take their seats at the decision making tables at which the power of decision making was held. They paused to imagine: what if we could better prepare and enable young people to participate in multilateral climate change negotiations? The Youth Negotiators Academy was born.

After COP26, the team came together, along with Veena, to create the Youth Negotiators Academy’s first programme – the Climate Youth Negotiators Programme. In just three months, the team designed a prototype for the programme and secured buy-in from a range of stakeholders around the world, and across a variety of sectors. The Climate Youth Negotiators Programme was launched on Earth Day (April 22) 2022.

Our Structure

The Youth Negotiators Academy is delivered by the Future Leaders Network, a not-for-profit organisation, based in the UK, aimed at discovering and developing the next generation of social, political and economic leaders.

Our Team

Our Project Team consists of:

Chief Executive Officer

Sophie Daud

Future Leaders Network

Loves dogs and horses

Swiss Negotiator at COP25

Marie-Claire Graf

YOUNGO Global Focal Point 2020-21

Loves glacier hiking and sailing


Heeta Lakhani

The ClimAct Initiative, former YOUNGO

Cat mom who loves dancing (with or without her cats) and going for a swim.


Veena Balakrishnan

Social entrepreneur focusing on social innovation and grassroot empowerment; Communications lead, YOUNGO

Believes in aligning actions with purpose in life.