World Learning’s Advancing Leaders Fellowship

Deadline: 31 March 2013
Open to: Fellows who successfully completed a World Learning program
Fellowship: $10,000


The Advancing Leaders Fellowship recognizes the ideas, talent, and vision of World Learning alumni by supporting fellows with an award of $10,000, comprehensive training in social innovation and leadership, and a support network of mentors and peers so that fellows can implement an original social innovation project. All alumni are invited to apply.

The fellowship lasts nine months: the first three months are dedicated to leadership development and training in social innovation, and during the last six months fellows implement their projects. Projects and fellows can be located anywhere in the world, from their own backyard to half a world away. Projects can address a variety of social issues, as long as the approach is innovative and the need is clear. Five fellowships will be awarded every six months.


The ten most qualified applicants will be selected to participate in World Learning’s Social Innovation Summit in San Francisco on June 5, 2013. World Learning will cover all costs for finalists, including airfare and lodging in San Francisco. On the morning of June 5, finalists will pitch their projects before an expert panel of judges, who will deliberate and ultimately choose five finalists to receive the fellowships. The winning fellows will be asked to present their projects before an audience later that night. More details will be provided to selected finalists.


During the first three months, fellows will participate in online leadership development and social innovation training. There will be an emphasis on group discussion and mentorship, and topics will cover theories and debates in social innovation, exploring and refining project design, funding models, scaling for impact, and practical skills such as project management, monitoring and evaluation. The training will culminate with a series of workshops and exercises focused on leadership.

Profile of a project

An Advancing Leaders Fellowship project will apply a novel approach to a significant social issue. This could be achieved through the application of a new design, technology, or methodology. Ideal projects will have a sustainability strategy and potential to scale.

Profile of a fellow

A fellow will demonstrate:

  • Strong leadership
  • Entrepreneurial vision, creativity, and resourcefulness
  • A passion for serving and empowering others
  • Sufficient experience and skill to carry out their project
  • Knowledge of and/or relationships with the community where he/she will implement his/her project

A fellow will be eligible if he/she:

  • has successfully completed a World Learning program (NB: members of a host family are not considered alumni)
  • has an original idea that addresses a significant social issue
  • has no more than five years of directly related work experience
  • has not received a World Learning fellowship in the past
  • is proficient in the English language
  • is not a current World Learning employee

How to apply

More details about the Advancing Leaders Fellowship can be found in these documents:

Completed applications for the current round, including the reference form, should be sent to by March 31, 2013. Questions regarding the Fellowship can also be directed to this address.

Advancing Leaders Fellowships are made possible through generous donor support and are part of the World Learning Exchange: a forum for sharing ideas, networks, and resources. The Exchange connects and empowers alumni to be leaders of social change. To find out how you can support fellows and other World Learning alumni, contact

The official website.

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