Honouring the man

The John Smith Trust was founded in 1996 as a living memorial to Rt Hon John Smith QC MP, one of the outstanding political leaders of his generation. John Smith was deeply committed to building fairer, more sustainable and inclusive societies and had a strong interest in the former Soviet Union.

The John Smith Trust is a powerful – and fitting – legacy for John Smith. It harnesses and strengthens the ambition, passion, skills and knowledge of young leaders from the region and equips them to make a positive contribution to their societies.

Some of our Wider Europe 2018 Fellows at Downing Street

Our programmes

We run two fellowship programmes each year for candidates from countries across Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The programmes are unique and life-changing opportunities, offering exceptional individuals the chance to explore issues around: governance and justice, climate and sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion.

This is done through an intensive four-week programme in the UK, including institutional visits, meetings with high-level experts, discussions, debates and workshops. The programme gives participants the chance to explore their leadership styles and develop key personal and professional skills.

Some of the participants of the JST Alumni Networking event in Bishkek .

Our network

The John Smith Trust connects committed leaders of change who are passionate about working together to make a real difference to their countries and communities. Those who successfully complete the UK fellowship programme become part of the vibrant and growing network of more than 500 John Smith Fellows across the region who continue to connect, collaborate and share ideas with each other.

We organise regular face-to-face regional networking events on specific themes and also facilitate contact between Fellows through our online networking platform.

The John Smith Fellowship is for life.

Our values

The Trust’s values inform everything we do, and Fellows who join our community are expected to demonstrate them during their Fellowship Programmes and beyond. They are:

  • Openness. We actively promote respect and tolerance for all peoples, societies and cultures. We practice listening and empathy first, as the key to unlocking collaborative connections. 
  • Equity. The quality of being fair, just and impartial is fundamental to everything we do. We believe an equitable society is possible, one in which all can participate, prosper and have access to justice. 
  • Curiosity. We have the curiosity to pursue a deep understanding of the issues we are tackling and keep looking for innovation in all we do. We constantly seek insights and challenge ourselves to find better solutions. 
  • Connection. We foster connections for the generous sharing of skills, knowledge and experience. Through collaboration and solidarity, we increase the power to achieve our goals for better societies. 
  • Courage. We have the humility to act and lead in the pursuit of equitable, inclusive and sustainable societies. As a community of social-impact leaders we know the importance of our own agency, and leading with kindness and compassion.