Future Leaders Programme

Following consultations with global young adults and leaders at different levels, a Future Leaders Programme will be developed based on the following ethos: inclusive, co-creative, dialogue-centred, transformative and action-oriented.

This Programme seeks to nurture the talented young leaders (aged 21-35) in communities and aims to support their personal and professional qualities for developing projects towards collective healing, social justice and well-being at local and global levels. This co-created Programme focuses on fostering key transformative qualities identified by global young adults through an extensive research.

The research applies a mixed-methods approach intended to engage young leaders in grassroots organisations in six UNESCO regions. It includes a survey questionnaire, focus-group dialogue, in-depth interviews, and intergenerational inquiries. Whilst the research is ongoing, under the guidance of global leaders, and in dialogue with young leaders and young researchers, the core components of the Programme are emerging, including:

  • deepening an awareness of self, other, the planet and the ‘cosmos’, connecting with the greater purpose, and enriching those qualities key to leading and facilitating transformation in the world;
  • seeking and integrating culturally relevant wisdom, place-based resources, and spiritually inspired practices towards healing the wounds of the past, addressing continued dehumanising legacies and advancing collective well-being
  • cultivating futures literacy and futures sensitivity in imagining what is possible
  • nurturing transformative approach to leading, such as inclusive & participatory community engagement, ethical entrepreneurship, innovative project work, and personal and professional development
  • facilitating dialogue (intercultural, interfaith & intergenerational) processes for re-defining and re-envisaging future-oriented local, national, and transnational institutions
  • proposing policy strategies and engaging in policy dialogue and advocacy for social justice and promising global future

The programme’s pedagogy will combine site-visits for co-creative and collaborative approaches to confronting local challenges, with online personal and professional development and mentoring (both horizontal and vertical) sessions. Each UNESCO Fellow will undergo six months’ intensive personal transformation and development sessions, and further six months’ professional and project-oriented mentoring sessions.

Bi-Weekly Virtual Meetings
Over six months, Fellows will meet online. The sessions will include invited lectures, Fellows presentations, deepening the art of facilitating dialogue, and co-creation.

Every three Fellows will form a Learning Group and every three learning groups will form a small Learning Community. The fellows will meet for weekly peer-mentoring sessions that explore topics, personal quest and project opportunities. Once a fortnight, the Learning Community will meet on Zoom with their Mentor for guidance and inspiration.

Regional Convening
Three months into the Programme, Fellows in the same UNESCO Region will take part an in-person convening in a community site where collaborative and innovative project ideas are invited and can be implemented. The on-site convening provides an invaluable opportunity for Fellows to co-create meaningful solutions to confront the specific community’s challenges.

Project Development
Fellows will take advantage of these learning spaces and create their community-rooted projects. The project proposals will be presented at the Academy for peer-to-peer feedback and evaluation with the view to strengthen them. The finalised project proposals will receive further feedback and support from Academy’s mentors. Sound proposals will be sponsored by the Academy’s donors. Successful projects will be carried out in the next six months in communities, and the fellows will be nurtured by continued mentoring.

Towards Systemic Transformation
Each edition of the Future Leaders Programme will conclude with a Policy Brief on social transformation developed by the Fellows. The policy recommendations will be shared with relevant institutions for implementation.