WISE Emerging Leaders Program | Fully funded (Opportunity to travel to Qatar in the)



WISE Emerging Leaders is a nine-month fellowship program for the next generation of leaders in education who wish to embark on a learning journey that cultivates the mindsets, skills, and techniques necessary to thrive, nurture communities, and transform education systems. It is now entering its fifth consecutive year.

In a time when education is disrupted by multiple crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the burnout epidemic, and the ecological collapse, WISE believes it is ever more important to create stimulating and nourishing spaces for education leaders to come together, connect meaningfully, learn with each other, and collaborate for collective impact. Transforming education systems requires change at the structural and systemic levels, but also at the intrapersonal and interpersonal levels. Leaders who lead with self-awareness, compassion, and creativity, who cultivate their own and their team’s wellbeing, and who weave people and projects together are leaders who can spark innovation and systemic change.

The WEL Fellowship brings together 15–20 carefully selected young leaders in education from around the world in a hybrid format consisting of in-person residential sessions, a series of online workshops with education experts, a number of asynchronous reflective blog posts, a concrete project to apply in their organizations, and tailored mentoring support to develop their project.

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WISE is seeking to collaborate with high-impact organizations to nominate young education professionals from within their organizations or network to support their personal and professional development. If you would like to  nominate promising young leaders from your organization, please get in touch with [email protected].

“The WISE Emerging Leaders program has been an incredible journey of personal and professional growth for me. Not only have I gained valuable insights and tools to multiply the impact of my work, but I have also learnt perseverance from the life experiences of powerful changemakers, who are now my close friends, from 14 countries. What sets this program apart is the safe space it offers to share our impact stories, both personal and professional, our values, and even our vulnerabilities. The experience has made me value diversity, celebrate different perspectives and align with people to create a bigger lasting impact in this world.”

Rajat Bagga, Senior Manager at Pratham Education Foundation, India and German Chancellor Fellow at Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, Germany (2022 fellow)

“The WISE fellowship is so unique in that it brings such a diverse group of individuals to learn from each other professionally and just as equally, personally. 

Time has never flown by so fast as it did in every webinar and residential session I spent with my WISE fellows. I learnt more about the world, about education, about learning and about the goodness of humanity. It was and still is – through every chat, message, catch up sessions – a truly life transforming and forward thinking experience!”

Christina Bwana, Chief Operations Officer and General Manager, Ubongo (2020 fellow)

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What are the components of the program?

1. In-Person Residential Sessions

The WEL 2023 Fellows will participate in two in-person residential sessions*, which will be delivered by experienced facilitators.

  • First residential session: 31 May – 10 June 2023 near Milan, Italy.
  • Second residential session: Late November/early December in Doha, Qatar.

During these residential sessions, they will be guided through a series of experiential workshops and activities on topics such as:

  • Collaborative and weaving leadership
  • Personal sustainability and wellbeing
  • Systems change in education
  • Peer-learning and peer-coaching
  • Collaboration and co-creation
  • Project development
  • Storytelling for impact
  • Personal and group harvesting

WISE will cover the following costs for Fellows joining the residential sessions: return flights, accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, venue hire, and workshop material.

*In the event that it is not safe to host the residential sessions in person, they will be delivered online (Monday to Thursday for max. 3.5 hours each day). Exact dates & times to be confirmed based on the Fellows’ timezones.

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2. Online Workshops & Masterclasses

Fellows will integrate their learning journey with 8 online interactive workshops* aimed at deepening their connections, engaging with distinguished education experts, collaborating with each other, and reflecting on their progress in the Fellowship. Workshops generally focus on topics covered during the residential sessions, but also offer the opportunity to dive deeper into global education content, depending on the Fellows’ interests. Previous masterclasses with education experts have included topics such as:

  • Education for climate action
  • Non-traditional approaches to education
  • Remote learning during COVID-19 times
  • Ecoversities and alternative universities
  • Wellbeing for educators and wellbeing in education
  • Education policy implementation
  • Girls’ education and gender equality in education
  • Systems change: From theory to action

*The exact dates for the workshops will be communicated with the selected cohort of Fellows, but as a general guideline, the first 2 will take place before the first residential session and the remaining 6 after the first and before the second residential session. Each workshop will last 90 minutes.

3. Reflective Blog Posts & Vlogs

Fellows will reflect on their learning journey by submitting 4 blog posts or vlogs during the Fellowship (approximately every 2 months). They will receive comprehensive guidelines and reflection prompts and some of the blog posts will be published on the WISE website. Examples of previous published posts by WEL alumni include:

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4. Practical Projects

Fellows will apply what they are learning during the Fellowship through the design, development, and implementation of a project in their organizational context.

  • Fellows will identify a potential project with their organization at the moment of applying for the fellowship but may change it during the residential session.
  • Fellows will have the opportunity to start the design and development of their project during the residential session through a series of dedicated activities and tools.
  • Fellows will receive support through tailored mentoring. Please note that WISE does not dispense any funds to projects or individuals. 
  • Fellows will be asked to submit regular updates in the form of blog posts (see previous section) about their project development, including a final project update at the end of the fellowship.
  • Fellows will work with their organization to pilot and/or implement the selected project during the Fellowship.

5. Tailored Mentoring

Fellows will be offered support in the development of their projects through tailored mentoring. WISE will match Fellows with their respective mentors after the first residential session and after having received an updated project description along with clear mentoring needs.

Important note: It is the Fellows’ responsibility to be proactive in their relationship with their mentor and make the most of this. WISE will provide useful tips during one of the online workshops on the mentor and protegé relationship.

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6. Post-fellowship engagements

On a voluntary basis, WISE offers regular post-fellowship engagements, which are co-organized with the fellows to connect with alumni from the program. Those engagements include:

  • Alumni WhatsApp group for asynchronous updates & support
  • Check-in calls to reconnect, foster wellbeing, and exploring educational topics
  • Masterclasses with external experts on education 
  • Sharing engagement opportunities and participation in events 

What is the recruitment process?

WISE invites representatives of institutions, organizations, programs and networks to nominate engaged candidates with outstanding academic/professional and/or personal experiences in the field of education from your organization. Nominees can be part of your extended organization or branches across the world. The nominator must have a project idea while nominating a candidate for the nomination to be eligible.

  • WISE is looking for 15–20 outstanding young professionals identified by their organizations to join the cohort.
  • Nominees must be between the ages of 25 and 33, with demonstrated engagement in the field of education and potential for growth.
  • Nominating organizations must identify a potential project for the nominee to undertake during the year and support the nominee in developing the project during the program.
  • Upon selection of the fellow, their host organization and WISE will finalize the project brief.

What is the recruitment timeline?

  • Application deadline: Completed forms in English should be submitted through the online portal by 13:00 GMT on 1 March, 2023.
  • Interview round: 19-30 March, 2023.
  • Application outcome: All applicants will be notified of their application outcome by early April, 2023.

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What are the selection criteria?

  1. Candidates must be between the ages of 25 and 33.
  2. Candidates must hold a valid travel document and be willing to travel abroad for the residential session.
  3. Candidates should be proficient in spoken and written English and should be comfortable presenting and speaking in public.
  4. Candidates should demonstrate a degree of resilience that enables them to contribute fully to the program while also meeting other organizational and personal commitments.
  5. Candidates should be curious, open-minded, flexible, and comfortable in multicultural environments.
  6. Candidates have a strong profile showing a steady record of accomplishments in the field of education (academic, professional and/or personal). They have also been involved in education and/or development projects for at least 3 years.
  7. Candidates clearly demonstrate engagement in social issues and how they have sought to overcome them through innovative ideas, and initiatives.
  8. Candidates must demonstrate potential for growth within the nominating organization.

Acknowledgement of General Terms and Conditions

  1. Candidates must be able to travel and must commit to participating in all WISE Emerging Leaders program components. 
  2. Candidates must be able to fully take part the residential session in May/June and last quarter of 2021 and organizations must support the fellows’ travel request for the duration, if applicable. 
  3. Candidates must engage in online modules, project development work and deliver blog submissions in line with the program deadlines. 
  4. Candidates can only pursue projects that are supported by their organization, and approved by WISE. 
  5. Nominator/organization support for the fellows will be required throughout the program for the successful delivery of the project. 
  6. All nominators agree to respect final selection decisions made by the WISE Team. No appeal or claim can be considered. Should your application be unsuccessful, you can nominate again next year. 
  7. By submitting the nomination form, you are acknowledging the aforementioned terms and committing to them. 
  8. WISE reserves the right to publicize the selected fellows by means of any kind of communication (internal and/or commercial advertising), through any promotional media (press, magazines, catalogues, websites, etc.) and all over the world. This communication may be in the form of pictures, recordings (audio and video) and texts supplied by each of the selected fellows. Selected fellows agree to provide photos, bio and descriptions of their projects. They also acknowledge the right of the WISE initiative to use this material.
  9. By taking part in this competition, applicants agree that their personal details will be included in a database owned by the WISE initiative, which will be the exclusive custodian of the said details for the purpose of managing the specified competition. The WISE initiative will not sell or distribute applicants’ personal data to third parties. Applicants have the right to access and modify any personal data concerning themselves. Applicants also have the right to refuse to be included in a database and may exercise these rights at any time by making the appropriate request in writing to [email protected]
  10. WISE reserves the right to amend the program timeline and components at any time. If it does so, WISE will post an update on its website and notify all candidates. 
  11. These rules for the WISE Awards are governed by Qatari law and, in the event of a dispute regarding their interpretation or performance, such a dispute shall be submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of the competent courts in Doha, Qatar. 
  12. Nominating for the 2021 WISE Emerging Leaders program implies full acceptance of and respect for these rules by the applicants. Interpretation of these rules falls within the exclusive competence of WISE.

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