Interview: Ori Chandler on the Future Energy Leaders Programme

Posted on 17 June 2013

The World Energy Council has just launched the next phase of its Future Energy Leaders Programme. Ori Chandler, who heads up the programme, tells us what we should expect to see from the programme at the World Energy Congress and beyond.

FEL_FEL peopleWhat is the Future Energy Leaders Programme?

The Future Energy Leaders Programme, or FELP, is an engagement programme for exceptional young energy leaders. It enables young leaders to network and develop their skills and experience in a truly international setting.

The programme allows these young professionals to engage closely with their peers on specific energy topics. These cover a very broad range of issues including the global geopolitics of oil and gas, technologies for the future, the energy–water nexus, and energy access. Many of these topics are aligned with the WEC’s own work programme and will enable FELP discussions to feed into the WEC’s future activities.

The FELP also allows young delegates to attend the World Energy Congress, participating in plenary sessions, keynote addresses and the opening and closing ceremonies. They also have the opportunity to attend their own sessions, designed specifically for young leaders. Breakfast workshops and expert roundtables will provide FELP delegates direct access to decision-makers and other energy leaders. They’ll have the chance to challenge ideas and ask questions, directly networking with key figures in the global community.


Who make up the Future Energy Leaders?

Our Future Energy Leaders (FELs) come from all over the world. This year we welcome 100 exceptional candidates from over 40 different countries. Only 30 of our member countries participated in the 2010 Montreal Congress, so this is a big step-up. I think this improved geographical representation and the diversity of candidate profile that we have seen this year will really highlight the vibrancy of the FEL community.


Sounds like the programme is growing. What should we expect to see in the next few years?

Yes, this year we’re really expanding the programme. We want to offer our FELs more than just a single Congress experience. We want our FELs to have long-term engagement with the WEC and to establish the FEL community as a recognised and sustained voice within the network.

We hope to achieve this by asking for a three-year commitment from FELs when they come on board. After the four-day programme in Daegu they’ll remain engaged with the network up until the next Congress in 2016. They’ll have the opportunity to participate in the WEC’s work programme and attend other WEC events. We’re really trying to cement the programme and involve these young delegates with WEC activities in the long term.

Ultimately, our FELs will become the WEC’s next generation of energy leaders. So this is a unique opportunity to help shape our future agenda.


What’s your long-term vision for this programme?

We want our FELs to help us define our objectives when they come on board. We want them to contribute, grow, and shape the programme. This is really important. It’s not a mandate coming down from the WEC. We want to tap into the dynamism and fresh thinking of these young minds and enable them to feed into the programme moving forward. We’ve already adopted this communal approach, and it has worked very effectively so far. We have a steering group of 10 top-performing FELs from different countries, who have already contributed to shaping the current programme for the 2013 Congress. Now we want to add to that advisory board by recruiting new people, new perspectives, and new expertise to help shape and determine our longer-term vision.


What makes you so motivated to help shape the FELP?

Young people bring new perspectives, new ideas into our dialogue and I find this very exciting and compelling. We’re working towards a sustainable future but it’s still not clear how we can do that, and I think there is huge scope for fresh ideas and new thinking.

Ultimately, young people will be the leaders of tomorrow. We have a duty to take an interest now and pave the way for the future.


Ori Chandler heads up the World Energy Council’s Future Energy Leaders Programme. As Senior Manager of Member Services, she helps strengthen engagement with the WEC’s 90+ Member Committees.

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