Future Leaders Academy

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

The Academy seeks to reach the talented young leaders (aged 21-30) in local communities and aims to support their projects towards collective healing, social justice and well-being at local and global levels. Its co-created programme will focus on nurturing key transformative qualities and competences identified by global young adults through an extensive research. The research will apply a mixed-methods approach intended to engage young leaders and 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, in 2022, under the guidance of global leaders, and in consultation with selected young leaders and young researchers, the core components of the Academy are emerging, including:

  • seeking and integrating place-rooted wisdom and culturally relevant practice;
  • healing the wounds of the past, addressing continued dehumanising legacies and enriching collective well-being
  • nurturing transformative leadership, including inclusive community engagement, ethical entrepreneurship, innovative project work, and personal and professional development
  • facilitating participatory and dialogic processes for identifying institutional change
  • developing policy proposals and engaging in policy advocacy for social justice and well-being

The programme will combine site-visits for co-creative and collaborative approaches to confronting local challenges, with online capacity-building and mentoring (both horizontal and vertical) sessions. Each UNESCO Fellow will experience six months transformative leadership development, and mentoring for another six months when they will receive mentoring for their community-based project.

The UNESCO Future Leaders Academy will feature the following sessions:

Bi-Weekly Virtual Academy
Over six months, UNESCO Fellows will meet online. The Programme will include invited lectures, Fellows presentations, dialogue, and co-creation.

Every three UNESCO 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 Academy, 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
UNESCO 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 UNESCO Academy will conclude with a Policy Brief on social transformation developed by fellows. The policy recommendations will be shared with relevant institutions for implementation.