25+ Young Leadership Programs for People Ages 18-40 to go Global (+Fully Funded) 2024

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Young Leaders Programs, training and mentorship.

If you are young and want to make global impact, you want to start taking advantage of opportunities designed specifically for young people who demonstrate leadership abilities. These programs include advance training, mentorship, paid travel expense, accommodation and in some cases funding for your project.

Today, we bring you the 25+ young leaders programs around the world for ambitious young people to go global.

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1.     YALI Mandela Washington Fellowships for Young African Leaders

The Mandela Washington Fellowships for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

Application Deadline: 11th October

Number of Awardees: Up to 1000

Value of Fellowship: If you are selected for the Fellowship, the U.S. government will cover all participant costs. Financial provisions provided by the U.S. Government will include:

  • J-1 visa support;
  • Round-trip travel from Fellow’s home city to the U.S. and domestic U.S. travel as required by the program;
  • A six-week academic and leadership institute;
  • Concluding Summit in Washington, DC;
  • Accident and sickness benefit plan;
  • Housing and meals during the program; and
  • An optional six-week Professional Development Experience (for up to 100 Fellows).
  • Please note: the Fellowship will not cover salary while Fellows are away from work or funds for personal purchases such as gifts.

2.     Obama Foundation Emerging African Leaders Program

The Obama Foundation seeks to identify a group of emerging African leaders from all sectors — government, civil society, and the private sector — who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the common good. The objective of the program is to build a growing network of innovative and ethical change makers, who seek to drive positive change in their communities. Successful candidates will have a demonstrated potential for impact, a clear commitment to integrity, and a commitment to stay engaged with the Obama Foundation throughout the year and beyond.  We are interested in talented individuals who are on the right trajectory at earlier stages of their journey, as well as those who have already attained success.

Application Deadline: 25th March

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award: The Obama Foundation will cover costs related to economy class travel, lodging, and meals throughout the July 14-18 portion of the program.

Duration of Program: The inaugural class of the Leaders Africa Program will convene in Johannesburg, South Africa from July 14 through July 18, 2018, as well as participate in robust online activities throughout the year.

3.     Global Youth Leadership Scholarship in Canada for Youths from Developing Countries

The Global Youth Leaders Certificate is a three-week education program offered at Coady Institute. This program enables young development practitioners from developing countries to strengthen their leadership capacities in order to contribute to innovation and change in their organizations and communities. Participants engage in learning that is grounded in real-world experiences and focused on Coady’s core thematic areas. Through a shared learning environment with others from around the world, participants are exposed to a range of experiences and the beginnings of a potentially lifelong network of support.

Application Deadline: 30th April

Field of Study: Programme participants engage in learning grounded in real world experiences and focused on Coady’s core thematic areas.

Value of Program:

  • The Global Youth Leadership program provides successful candidates with a full scholarship that includes tuition, travel, accommodation, and meals.
  • Program participants also benefit from the guidance and mentorship of accomplished leaders from around the world.

Duration of Program: three-week education program.

4.     Clinton Global Initiative University for Exceptional Students and Young Leaders

Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting where students, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Students create their own Commitments to Action that address issues on campus, in local communities, or around the world. Since 2008, students have made more than 6,250 commitments, and nearly $3 million in funding has been awarded to these commitment-makers through CGI U.

Application Deadlines:

  • Early Decision and Travel Assistance deadline is 16th March
  • Regular Decision deadline is  23rd April

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of the Program: CGI U provides need-based travel assistance to a limited number of students to attend the CGI U meeting. You can apply for this assistance when you apply to attend CGI U (as noted below, students are only eligible for travel assistance if they apply by the Early Decision deadline).

5.     McCain Institute Next Generation Leaders Program for Emerging Leaders

 The Next Generation Leaders program offers up to 20 emerging global leaders one year of targeted professional and personal development—with a core focus on values, ethics and leadership—in order to create a capable and lasting global network of character-driven leaders who shape the world we will inhabit in the future.

Application Deadline: 9th February

Number of Awards: 20

Value of Program: 

  • Stipend that covers all standard living costs for a year.
  • Travel allowance
  • Per visa regulations The McCain Institute also covers health insurance and workers comp.
  • Following the initial training and coaching module in Washington, NGLs depart for their placements sites across the United States to professionally develop in areas relevant to their future goals while providing a broadening experience.

Duration of Program: 1 year

6.     United Nations Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals Program

The United Nations announced the inaugural class of the Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals – 17 young change-makers whose leadership is catalyzing the achievement of the Goals. From food to fashion to finance, the Young Leaders come from many different backgrounds, represent every region in the world and help activate young people in support of the Goals.

The Young Leaders will come together as a community to support efforts to engage young people in the realization of the SDGs both through strategic opportunities with the UN and through their existing initiatives, platforms and networks. Young Leaders will be expected to actively support one or more of the following objectives:

  • Advocate for the Goals, in ways most accessible and relatable to young people across different contexts;
  • Promote innovative ways of engaging their audiences and peers in the advocacy and realization of the Goals;
  • Contribute to a brain trust of young leaders supporting the UN and partners for key moments and initiatives related to the Goals.

Application Deadline: 3rd November

7.     Atlas Corps Fellowship for Young Leaders in Non-Profit

 Atlas Corps Fellowship is seeking applications from young leaders all around the world for its fellowship program to address critical social issues by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and promoting innovation. 

Application Deadline: 19th December

Number of Awardees: Not specified

Value of Fellowship: This fellowship includes health insurance, enrollment in Atlas Corps Global Leadership Lab, flight and visa costs, and a living stipend to cover basic expenses (food, local transportation, and shared housing).

Duration of Fellowship: 12-18 months

8.     Eisenhower Global Fellowship Program for Innovative Leaders

Eisenhower Fellowships brings together innovative leaders from across geographies and sectors, visionaries who tackle big challenges to better the world around them. Though diverse in background and interests, Fellows are committed to a singular aim: creating a world more peaceful, prosperous, and just. In the spring, EF brings around 25 Fellows from 25 different countries for the Global Program. In the fall, EF mixes up its programming by focusing on either a single region – such as Southeast Asia, the Middle East or Africa – or common interest – such as women’s leadership, urbanization, energy or innovation.

Application Deadline: 8th June

Number of Awards: approximately 25 Fellows

Value of Program: 

  • Funded to the United States.
  • Networking and professional development experience in the U.S.
  • Eisenhower Fellows use what they learn during their meetings with other leaders, including in their fellow Fellows, to think through issues that are vital to their personal and professional development and to identify opportunities for sustained results from the fellowship experience.

Duration of Program: seven weeks

9.     British Council Future Leaders Connect Programme for Young Leaders

British Council is seeking applications for its Future Leaders Connect Programme with an aim to provide future leaders with skills and international networks which will improve their ability to make or influence policy changes, leading to long term impact on the social and economic development in their countries and beyond.

Application Deadline: 13th May

Eligible African Countries: Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia

Number of Awards: Approximately 50 Participants will attend

Duration of Program: 11 days

Value of Award: The costs of travel, accommodation and meals are covered by the British Council and the programme is fully accessible.

10.                        Archbishop Tutu Fellowship Programme for Young African Leaders

As African Leadership Institute’s (AFLI) flagship leadership development programme, the Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme welcomes an elite group of Africa’s highest potential young leaders, representing a wide range of sectors. Offered on a part-time basis over six months, the Programme includes two 9-day Group Learning Modules with an impressive array of distinguished leaders and faculty. These are intensive interactive workshops; one at the historic Mont Fleur conference facility (South Africa), and the other split between Oxford University and London (UK).

Application Deadline: 15th December

Number of Awardees: 20

Value of Fellowship: 

  • Entry into awards
  • Thought-leadership and speaking opportunities
  • Advocacy opportunities
  • Networking opportunities and network memberships
  • Access to projects, causes and campaigns
  • Collaborating with like-minded peers on projects
  • Job opportunities
  • Pan-African exposure
  • Attendance of multi-country meetings
  • Leadership of, and participation in, multi-country organizations and projects
  • International exposure
  • Opportunities for ongoing debate and knowledge-exchange
  • Profiling in the media
  • Peer to Peer accountability
  • Selected as board members or trustees to high profile companies/organizations

Duration of Fellowship: 1 year

11.                        Queen’s Young Leaders Program

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme is looking to award exceptional young people who’ve proved to be inspiring leaders in their communities. This unique, life-changing Award is comprised of a tailored package of training and mentoring. Winners will also receive a one-week residential programme in the UK, during which they will receive their Award from Her Majesty The Queen. With this support, Award winners will be expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities.

Application Deadline: 21st August

Number of Awardees: 60

Value of the Program: 

  • Mentoring: As a Queen’s Young Leader, candidate will be allocated a mentor with relevant experience and expertise who will support them over the course of the year to continue and develop their work.
  • Online learning: Online learning will be provided with materials relevant to candidate’s area of interest, as well as serving as a place for them to meet and share experiences and knowledge with other Queen’s Young Leaders.
  • One-week residential programme in the UK: The Award winners will have the opportunity to meet with inspiring people and visit organizations in the UK that have expertise in areas such as media and communications, social action and advocacy. During this week, Awards will be presented by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Duration of the Program: One (1) week programme, One (1) year mentoring.

12.                        Swedish Institute Management Programme (SIMP) Africa for Young African Leaders

Sweden is considered to be one of the leading countries in sustainable business practice. Swedish companies play a prominent role in finding new, innovative ways to integrate social, environmental and ethical concerns into their core business models. But the challenges are global and we have a common need for sustainable development. SIMP Africa is partly funded by the Swedish Government and aims at emerging leaders. The programme curriculum revolves around advanced business-related problem solving, seminars and meetings with front figures in the commercial, political and cultural fields, as well as on-site company visits.

Do you want to be a part of an international network of emerging leaders focused on responsible leadership and sustainable business practices? Join the Swedish Institute Management Programme (SIMP) Africa.

Application Deadline: 6th February

Eligible Countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda or Zambia

Number of Awards: 25

Value of Program: 

  • Training and content
  • Accommodation, food and domestic transport during the programme
  • Flight tickets to and from Sweden
  • Insurance covering acute illness and accident when in Sweden

Duration of Program: The programme, spread over seven months, comprises three weeks of intensive training divided into an introductory kick-off at the Swedish Embassy in each country, a two week module in Sweden and a concluding five day module in Africa.

13.                        Future Global Leaders (FGL) Fellowship

The Future Global Leaders Fellowship annually selects the world’s top first-generation university students and, over the course of a 3-year program, primes them for induction into the Fortis Society – the world’s first private network of diverse leaders committed to one another’s success and to a better world.

Application Deadline: 31st January

Number of Awardees: Not specified

Value of Fellowship: All programme costs are covered by the Future Leaders Foundation.

  • Mentorship from world renowned professionals;
  • Three-week Intensive leadership training;
  • Funding and support for an internship;
  • Customized career advice and tools;
  • Access to an influential international network – the Fortis Society

Duration of Fellowship: The Future Global Leaders Fellowship officially starts in July, when all newly selected FGL Fellows come together for intensive 20-day leadership training.

14.                        Caux Scholars Program for Young Peace Leaders

Twenty scholars from around the world are selected for this four-week course held in Caux, Switzerland, during the Initiatives of Change global summer conferences. The Caux Scholars Program teaches students to analyze conflicts, to understand the factors that create and sustain conflicts, and provide practical understanding of approaches to resolving conflicts – conflict prevention, negotiation and transitional justice.

Application Deadlines:

  • Programme: 2nd March
  • Scholarship: 17th February

Number of Awardees: 1

Value of Scholarship: This scholarship provides US $3,800 for the tuition fee and US $1,000 for air travel if enough funds are raised.

Duration of Scholarship: four-week

15.                        World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Leadership Fellowship Program

The Global Leadership Fellows Programme of the World Economic Forum aims to prepare individuals for leadership in an increasingly complex and ambiguous world, addressing some of the most difficult problems on the planet through public-private orientation. It’s a three-year programme that combines intensive on-the-job experience, an innovative learning curriculum, personalized coaching and mentoring and access to an extensive network of alumni.

Application Deadline: 15th August

Fellows are trained at CEIBS, Columbia University, INSEAD, the London Business School, THNK School of Creative Leadership and Innovation, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Program: As a Fellow, you will learn to manage complexity and ambiguity, work in a fast-paced and dynamic environment, become an agile and resilient leader, earn a Master’s in Systems Leadership, and interact with some of the world’s most influential individuals and institutions.

Duration of Program: 3 years

The start date for the Global Leadership Fellows Programme is 1 November.

16.                        World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader Program

The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a community of over 800 enterprising, socially-minded men and women selected under the age of 40, who operate as a force for good to overcome barriers that elsewhere stand in the way of progress. The community is made up of leaders from all walks of life, from every region of the world, and from every stakeholder group in society.

Application Deadline: 31st May

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award: 

  • YGLs are fully involved in the Forum’s meetings, initiatives and research and interact with the Forum’s wider multi-stakeholder community.
  • YGLs have a powerful role in determining the community’s activities. They are governed by a foundation board of respected leaders and are managed by a dynamic team of young professionals based in Geneva and China.
  • Set up as an independent, not-for-profit foundation under the Swiss government, the Forum of Young Global Leaders is an integral part of the World Economic Forum.

17.                        European Development Days Young Leaders Program

The meaningful participation of children and youth is mandated by global and European policy commitments, including the right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them, for their opinion to be heard and taken seriously, and a role in decision-making. Youth inclusion leads to an innovative and more inclusive development. The empowerment of young people contributes to build responsible citizenship, which helps shaping democratic societies and good governance, which are high priorities for the EU.

Application Deadline: 2nd March

Number of Awardees: 15

Value of Program: The 15 selected Young Leaders will be invited to Brussels, Belgium, and all expenses (Visa, travel, accommodation) will be covered by the European Commission.

Duration of Program: 10 days

18.                        Young Water Fellowship Program for Young Leaders from Low and Middle Income Countries

The Young Water Fellowship Program aims to empower young leaders from low and middle income countries to implement projects to tackle water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH), water pollution and water scarcity issues, by offering them an intensive training program, seed funding grants for their projects, and mentoring support by senior level experts during one year. In accordance with Young Water Solutions’ DNA, the program’s conceptual design is scalable and replicable, with the ambition to create sustainable impact.

Application Deadline: 9th August

Number of Awards: 10

Value of Award:

  • Training: Fellows will attend a one-week workshop in Brussels and will be trained by experts in: IWRM | Project management | Monitoring and evaluation tools | Leadership | Water and gender | Social entrepreneurship | SDG 6
  • Mentorship: Fellows will be assigned a mentor according to their needs, who will provide technical support throughout the whole life-cycle of the project.
  • Project Implementation: Fellows will be provided with opportunities for seed funding up to €5000 to implement their projects.

Duration of Program: Max. 6 months (during which selected young leaders will come together in Belgium for a one week workshop)

19.                        Brightest Young Minds (BYM) Summit for Young Leaders in Africa

Brightest Young Minds (BYM) is a 17-year old non-profit company that exists to create a positive social impact by identifying, connecting and mobilizing 100 high-impact leaders between the ages of 20 – 35 across the African continent for an annual 5-day summit. If you are creating a positive social impact and interested in learning from other innovative young people then BYM might be right for you!

Application Deadline: varies

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award: Delegates need to make arrangements for their own travel to the Summit however, all Summit costs including food, lodging and transportation costs will be covered.

Duration of Program: 5 days

20.                        Education First Speech International Competition for Students and Teachers

The EF Youth Leadership Forum brings together outstanding students from all over the world and gives them an opportunity to become better global leaders.

With the help of their teachers, the EF Challenge participants will write and record a short speech that inspires the audience and convinces the jury: both students and teachers have the chance to win amazing prizes – from trips to dream-destinations to study abroad courses and online English lessons.

Application Deadline: 15th April

Number of Awardees: Not specified

Value of Program: 

  • Win a two-week study abroad course to a destination of your choice
  • Win a trip to the EF Youth Leadership Forum at the EF New York
  • Win a spot for an EF Teacher Training Course

21.                        Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Ambassadors Program for Young Africans

The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) offers its next Ambassadors Program to Africans below the age of 42 to help NEF Ambassadors improve their profile and enhance their careers by promoting the NEF and through activities that provide significant exposure to leaders from around the world. 

NEF Ambassadors are the NEF’s young science and technology champions, one from each African country. NEF Ambassadors, who are all under 42 years, drive the NEF’s local public engagement activities while growing their own careers through the NEF’s partnerships that offer opportunities for mentorship and collaborations with established researchers.

Application Deadline: 3rd September

Value of Award: Ambassadors receive a ticket and paid travel expenses to the NEF Global Gathering event. as well as sound non-financial benefits from participation, including high-impact exposure to Nobel Prize winners, Heads of State and representatives from leading global corporations.

22.                        Eco-generation Regional Ambassadors for Young Leaders

Eco-generation Regional Ambassador is an elite position awarded to the youth aged between 13 and 24 qualified to represent Tunza Eco-generation, an environmental networking platform for children and youth around the world. Eco-generation Regional Ambassador Program provides exceptional experiences with the opportunities to actively plan, to execute or participate in various environmental awareness programs in each region and country.

Application Deadline: 18th February

Eligibility: – All Tunza Eco-generation members aged between 13 and 24 who are enthusiastic to spread news and stories about their local environmental issues at a global level

Number of Awards: Not specified

Duration of Program: for six (6) months

23.                        Volunteer to Become a Commonwealth Correspondent

The Commonwealth Correspondents is a global network of emerging young leaders and aspiring writers and social commentators aged 15 to 29. Correspondents are keen to tell other people about ordinary or extraordinary events occurring in their community, town, country or region. They want to explain how issues in the local, national or international news have affected them or made them think about certain subjects. Most of all, Correspondents are keen to spark conversation and debate with other young people through their article writing.

Application Deadline: Ongoing

Number of Awardees: Not specified

Value of Program: There are many benefits of becoming a Correspondent:

  • It is satisfying to know your articles are being read by other young people and policy makers across the world.
  • Your articles may influence opinion across the Commonwealth and within governments.
  • It is a great thing to add to your resume/curriculum vitae – likely to impress future employers.

24.                        TED Fellows Program

The TEDGlobal Fellowships is designed to bring together young trailblazers from a variety of fields that have shown unusual accomplishment and courage. Instead of business people, professionals, policy wonks and government officials, the TED Fellows program focuses on doers, makers, inventors, advocates, filmmakers and photographers, musicians and artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, NGO heads, and human rights activists. The fellowship program is offered biannual.

Application Deadline: 10th September

Number of Awardees: Twenty (20)

Value of Fellowship: 

  • TED pays for round-trip economy airfare, ground transportation to and from the conference location, meals and shared accommodation on site.
  • The TED Fellowship programme has the ability to slingshot candidate’s career forward.
  • As a Fellow, the candidate will be introduced into a powerful network of innovators that can be future collaborators.
  • By attending and speaking at the TED Conference, candidate will not only have the ability to spread their message far and wide, but will also meet people who may be able to help your career.
  • Aside from the conference, Fellows have access to personal mentorship opportunities and speaker coaching following conference participation.
  • Once you are selected as a TED Fellow all flights (or equivalent) to and from the TED conference, any visa needs, room, board + food while at the conference, and a conference pass will be covered.

Duration of Fellowship: A 5 day stage program. Also one-year commitment on a TED Conference.

25.                        Hague Academy Talent for Governance Program for Developing Countries

Talent for Governance only selects people who possess a strong motivation to make a difference for their citizens. The talent programme consists of a training course at The Hague Academy for Local Governance, an internship in a Dutch municipality and worldwide networking activities.

Application Deadline: 1st December

Value of Scholarship: The Talent for Governance programme is almost completely cost covering. The talent programme covers cost of tuition fee, travel costs, accommodation and most living expenses in The Netherlands. The Hague Academy will select the travel arrangements and accommodation and about half of the costs of the living expenses

Duration of Scholarship: 3 weeks

26.                        Obama Foundation Fellowship for Civic Innovators Worldwide

The Obama Foundation Fellowship program seeks to support outstanding civic innovators from around the world in order to amplify the impact of their work and to inspire a wave of civic innovation. The Obama Foundation Fellows will be a diverse set of community-minded rising stars – organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and more – who are altering the civic engagement landscape. By engaging their fellow citizens to work together in new and meaningful ways, Obama Foundation Fellows will model how any individual can become an active citizen in their community.

Application Deadline: 6th October

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of the Program: The Foundation will cover transportation and accommodation for the in-person convening.

  • The two-year, non-residential Fellowship will offer hands-on training, resources, and leadership development.
  • Fellows will also participate in four multi-day gatherings where they will collaborate with each other, connect with potential partners, and collectively push their work forward.
  • Throughout the program, each Fellow will pursue a personalized plan to leverage Fellowship resources to take their work to the next level.

Duration of Program: 2 years

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