• When will the next fellowship programme take place?
    • Applications for our 2024-5 Fellowship Programmes are now open. This year we have four separate programmes:  
        • Wider Europe and Central Asia 
        • Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Belarus’ 
        • Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Russia’ 
        • Ukrainian Women Leadership Programme (applications now closed)
  • Which countries are included in the fellowship programmes?
    • Only candidates from the following countries may apply to the relevant programme:  
        • Wider Europe and Central Asia: citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan. Candidates must also be resident in one of the 10 countries.  
        • Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Belarus’: citizens of Belarus living outside of their country. 
        • Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Russia’: citizens of Russia living outside of their country. 
        • Ukrainian Women Leadership Programme: Ukrainian women living in Scotland with experience of studying or working in an English-speaking context.
    • The Trust cannot accept applications from any other country or territory. 
  • When do the fellowship programmes run? 
    • Each of the programmes will be hybrid, including regular online sessions and a residential programme in the UK. The provisional dates for the programmes are: 
        • Wider Europe and Central Asia: October 2024 to March 2025, with a residential programme in the UK from Friday 21st February to Sunday 9th March 2025.  
        • Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Belarus’: October 2024 to February 2025, with a residential programme in the UK from Friday 10th January to Sunday 19th January 2025.  
        • Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Russia’: October 2024 to February 2025, with a residential programme in the UK from Friday 29th November – Sunday 8th December 2024. 
        • Ukrainian Women Leadership Programme: 17 – 20 June 2024, the sessions will take place in-person at the University of Edinburgh Business School (applications now closed)
    • The exact dates may be subject to change. Attendance of all sessions (online and in-person) is compulsory in order to complete the Fellowship.  
  • How does recruitment work? 
    • The recruitment process for each programme consists of an online application form, an online interview for those who are shortlisted, and a final stage face-to-face interview. 
    • Please note that if you are successful in the final interview, we will require a letter of support from your current employer before we formally offer you a place on the relevant programme. 
  • Is there a set of criteria that candidates must meet? 
    • The Trust selects exceptional and influential future leaders who are already making an impact in one or more of the following areas 1) governance and justice, 2) climate and sustainability and 3) equality, diversity, and inclusion. 
    • Fellows can work in any sector, e.g., public sector (public administration at local, regional or national levels, politics), non-profit sector (civil society, NGOs, think tanks, research/education institutions, media) or private sector (legal professions, business/social business, finance). 
    • The Trust does not discriminate against candidates based on their country of origin, nationality, ethnicity, gender, faith, or any other personal characteristic. 
    • Fellows are expected to demonstrate the John Smith Trust’s shared values of tolerance, respect and openness towards one another at all times. Please see our Fellows’ Charter for more detail on what we expect from Fellows. The Trust strongly condemns Russia’s unlawful act of aggression on Ukraine and supports the people of Ukraine who are defending their freedom. Fellows who take part in one of our programmes are expected to accept this position. Please see our statement on the war on Ukraine for more detail. 
    • Fellows are normally aged 25-35. 
    • We are looking for people ready to make a substantial commitment to participate actively in the UK residential programme, to implement their Action Plan over 12 months following the completion of their programme and to become an active member of the Fellows’ network in the long term. 
    • Please note that the candidates selected are those whom the Trust feel will make the most significant long-term positive impact on their society’s development and not the development of their own careers. 
    • Please read our website thoroughly and refer to the application page of your chosen programme: 
  • What level of English do candidates need to be accepted onto a fellowship programme? 
    • A high standard of written and spoken English is essential as the programmes are conducted entirely in English. Fellows have preferably already worked or studied in English. 
  • What level of commitment is expected during the fellowship programmes? 
    • We are looking for people ready to make a substantial commitment to participate actively in the UK residential programme and in the fortnightly online events that make up the rest of the hybrid fellowship programmes. Additionally, those who particularly excel during the fellowship programmes will have the opportunity to take part in further regional and/or UK based network events.  
    • After the residential programme in the UK, Fellows are expected to implement their action plan, and to become an active member of the Trust’s network of Fellows in the long term. 
    • We facilitate open and honest discussion about the challenges our societies face, the solutions we’ve tried and what we’ve learned. As such, Fellows are expected to demonstrate the John Smith Trust’s shared values, including tolerance, respect and openness towards one another at all times, in accordance with our Fellows’ Charter. 
    • Once you’re selected for a fellowship programme, we require a letter of support from your employer to approve your time away from work. 
  • What is an action plan? 
    • An action plan is a project addressing a challenge in policy or practice, which is related to each Fellow’s field of expertise, and which would be enhanced by sharing experience and insights with counterparts from the UK.  It should contribute to the positive development of your society within one of our thematic areas: governance and justice, climate and sustainability, and equality, diversity and inclusion. The project should be ambitious yet feasible to implement.  
    • Each Fellow writes a first draft of their action plan as part of the application process. The plan is then developed and finalised during the online and UK residential programme as a result of one-to-one meetings with UK experts, practitioners and counterparts, as well as group discussions and workshop sessions. The John Smith Trust team will work with each Fellow in the months leading up to the residential programme to develop an individually tailored Action Plan programme. On return to their homes, Fellows commit to the implementation of their action plan. They are required to share the results of the action plan with the Trust 12 months after completing their UK residential fellowship programme.  
    • Fellows will also have the opportunity to share their learning through written insights pieces, contributions to workshops, and network events. The Trust cannot provide any financial assistance for the implementation of action plans.  
    • Take a look at some of our Fellows’ profiles to see the sorts of action plans that have been implemented in the past.  Our News and Insights page also contains updates from our Fellows on the impact of their projects and their work following the fellowship programme.  
  • What is an action plan meeting? 
    • As part of each fellowship programme, the John Smith Trust sets up a number of days of individually tailored meetings for each Fellow with organisations, counterparts and experts in the UK whose work is relevant to their plan. 
    • Action plan meetings give Fellows the opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas directly with practitioners and seek input from experts. The meetings also provide numerous opportunities for high-level networking. 
    • On the application form, Fellows are required to identify potential action plan meeting hosts – a wish list of specific UK individuals, institutions and organisations they would ideally like to meet – and explain how these meetings would help them design and implement their action plan. If selected, in the lead-up to the residential programme in the UK, each Fellow is required to work remotely with the Trust to develop this wish list into an individually tailored programme of action plan meetings. 
    • The Trust cannot guarantee meetings with specific institutions, organisations or individuals, but will do everything possible to secure appropriate meetings for each Fellow. 
  • Do you accept candidates from countries outside the Trust’s listed fellowship countries? 
    • The Trust can only accept applications from: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan. 
    • Candidates must meet the eligibility criteria of the particular fellowship programme to which they are applying: 
        • Candidates for the Wider Europe and Central Asia programme must be a citizen of one of the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan. They must also be resident in one of these countries – this does not have to be the same country as their citizenship. In exceptional circumstances the Trust may consider candidates whose work is focused on the development of their home countries/territories but who are temporarily located elsewhere. You are encouraged to email applications@johnsmithtrust.org about your application in this case. 
        • Candidates for the Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Belarus’ programme must be citizens of Belarus living outside of their country. There are no residency requirements for this programme. 
        • Candidates for the Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Russia’ programme must be citizens of Russia living outside of their country. There are no residency requirements for this programme. 
  • Why are there separate Fellowship Programmes for citizens of Belarus and of Russia this year? 
    • The John Smith Trust would like to restate our condemnation of Russia’s unlawful act of aggression on Ukraine. We express our ongoing support for the people of Ukraine who are defending their freedom, and we continue to support all efforts to end Russia’s unprovoked invasion. 
    • The war has had a devastating impact on the Ukrainian people, including many of our Fellows. It has also impacted people across the region. We are deeply saddened and concerned for their welfare. At the same time, we are proud that our Fellows are leading efforts to counter the impacts of the Russian invasion and that Fellows from across our network have shown solidarity and support. 
    • In light of this regrettable context, the Board of Trustees has been keeping aspects of our upcoming Fellowship Programmes under review. We remain firmly committed to the principle of non-discrimination and value-based selection. However, in light of emerging operational factors relating to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, our Board of Trustees has concluded that, under the current circumstances, we cannot proceed with the participation of citizens of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus in our regional Fellowship programmes until further notice.  
    • Nonetheless, we recognise the importance of supporting exceptional young professionals living in exile who have a shared vision of a more tolerant, peaceful and sustainable future for their countries and want to work together to realise that future. We have therefore launched separate programmes for exiled leaders.  
  • I am under 25 years old or over 35 years old, can I still apply? 
    • You can still apply, but the Trust will only consider candidates outside this age range in exceptional circumstances. Please note that the Trust selects influential young leaders who have the experience and potential necessary to make a substantial impact on the future development of their country/territory. Younger candidates may be encouraged to apply again in the future. 
  • Can I apply again if my application has been unsuccessful? 
    • Yes. 
  • What costs are covered by the Trust and how much can I be expected to pay? 
    • We provide a bursary to cover the costs of return economy flights from a Fellow’s home country/territory to the UK and a visa, if required. We cover accommodation in the UK, travel within the UK as required by the programme, and daily subsistence for the duration of the UK programme. All costs related to the workshops, visits, meetings and attachments in the UK are covered by the Trust. 
    • Please note: Fellows are responsible for the cost and provision of their own medical and travel insurance during the residential programme in the UK. 
  • What happens after the fellowship programmes? 
    • Becoming a John Smith Fellow is a lifelong opportunity and commitment! Fellows become part of a collaborative community of senior leaders and change-makers. We provide ongoing opportunities for Fellows in our network to connect with and learn from the experiences of counterparts beyond their cohort, working in the public, private and civil society sectors, as well as leaders, in the UK and across the regions covered by the programme. Fellows are invited to regular online events as well as regional and UK-based in-person events, often as contributors, facilitators as well as participants.   
    • We keep in regular contact with Fellows after the fellowship programmes, and expect Fellows to provide updates on the implementation of their action plans and other work towards positive societal developments in their country or region, which we may share on our  News and Insights page.  
    • Fellows can also connect with each other, join the network-wide mentoring scheme and learn about upcoming events via our online networking platform, the Hub. 

For more detail about each of the fellowship programmes, and to apply, please follow the link below.  

Apply now

 

Menu