"Big Four" Highlights


Young, Informed and Pro-Life

Leader of youth alliance seeks cultural change

Francois Jacob and his wife, Therese, have two young children. On the homepage, Jacob is shown with the New York staff of World Youth Alliance.

Coming from France to New York City was a big move for Francois Jacob and his family. Taking the president position of World Youth Alliance (WYA) has been a challenge that he has embraced to build a culture of life. With a dedicated young staff, he has continued the organization’s mission of defending the dignity of the human person and protecting innocent human life at international forums such as the United Nations.

Jacob, 30 years old, was born in Montpelier, France. He is married for seven years to Therese, and they have two young children.

Fathers for Good: What are the mission and goals of the World Youth Alliance?

Jacob: The mission of the World Youth Alliance is to promote the dignity of the human person in solidarity with young people in over 170 countries.

The primary goal of WYA is to train and equip our members to understand these ideas through education programs which enable them to affirm this dignity in policy as well as in the worlds of art and culture.

A great illustration of the effect and influence of our action fields (education, policy and culture) is demonstrated through this busy summer. In early July, we hosted a two-week International Leadership Camp in New York to prepare participants up for the United Nations High Level Meeting on Youth that took place July 25-26 with hundreds of diplomats and non-governmental organizations. WYA is proactive in the current negotiations at the UN to promote the central role of family in the life of young people and brought an international youth delegation of well-trained members to the meeting.

In August we sponsored 40 volunteers to World Youth Day in Madrid to work at our booth at the Love and Life site sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life. Our “WYA at World Youth Day” project featured a great program of both action and celebration.

FFG:: How are you personally working to lead this organization?

Jacob: I have a very personal experience of the World Youth Alliance as I have been first an active WYA member in Paris since 2005, then I became the regional director in Europe starting in 2008 and was finally selected as President based in New York in 2010. I am now the manager of five regional offices run by young staff members who work around the clock. While they are highly educated and could have well-paid jobs somewhere else, they choose to give precious years of their lives because they are compelled by WYA’s mission and community. My role is to lead and support them and I do my best to do so in this key period in their lives, their 20’s.

I see fruits of this work when our alumni become leading politicians, artists and educators whose work and inspiration are grounded in the respect for the dignity of the person from conception to natural death. WYA is now in the front seat to showcase how lives of young people can be transformed when their foundations are strong. I am particularly proud for instance to see WYA sponsoring the only event in preparation of World Youth Day in the European Parliament entitled “Solidarity, Freedom and Democracy – the experience of WYD and its contribution to the European Union.”

WYA has been working for 12 years to provide alternatives to the population control, reproductive rights-based agenda of certain agencies and NGOs. This is one of the main areas where the dignity of women and men is violated. We are actively building policies and programs for governments that respect the human person’s dignity and I am deep convinced we can make a difference in that area!

FFG:: Have your wife and children adapted to living in New York?

Jacob: My family is central when it comes to discernment, be it then to quit my job as a consultant in Paris and take on a job for WYA which looked more like a mission than a career plan. It was not easy to move to New York and I am working toward achieving the common good for each of us : when everyone is fulfilling their vocation and it benefits the community...It's a long way to go but I am learning.

For more information about World Youth Alliance, visit: WYA.Net