John Smith Trust Fellows’ Charter

This Charter is a set of principles which underpin the John Smith Trust’s (the Trust) fellowship programme. It sets out what we expect from John Smith Fellows during and after your participation in the programme. Behaviour that conflicts with the principles in this Charter may result in exclusion from the Trust network and all its benefits.  

Please note the contract for the fellowship programme is separate and additional to this Charter. 


The Trust inspires and nurtures a collaborative community of leaders and change-makers working on governance, social justice, and climate action to improve the well-being of their societies. The quality of being fair, just, and impartial is fundamental to everything we do, and we expect Fellows to bear this in mind in their interactions with each other, the Trust’s staff, guests and external speakers and facilitators throughout the programme. Fellows should treat one another with respect, compassion, open-mindedness at all times.  


Fellows must attend all programme events, some of which will take place in the evenings and weekend. They are expected to arrive on time and to stay for the duration of the scheduled events. This applies to both online and face-to-face events.  

Arranging events requires considerable time and cost. The organising team understands that unexpected developments can prevent Fellows from attending. However, Fellows must inform the organisers in good time of any cancellations or anticipated absences in order to avoid unnecessary costs.  


 Presence and active participation are required during the residential programme, monthly online events, and action plan meetings. Fellows are expected to reflect the Trust’s values of curiosity and connection by proactively and collaboratively engaging in all programme events. We expect Fellows to be open-minded and curious, continuously informing themselves and challenging themselves to find better solutions to the issues they are tackling. Fellows are expected to engage actively with speakers, facilitators, and other Fellows. You are expected to maintain the same high standards of behaviour online as face-to-face. 

Mobile phones are strictly prohibited during programme activities, including meetings, presentations, and workshops etc. They must be on silent and out of sight. Any breaches of this policy will be treated seriously.  


 The organising team would be grateful to Fellows if they could facilitate their work by replying quickly to emails regarding scheduled events and informing us of any changes to their contact details or current position. Please notify a member of staff if your profile on our website or on our Fellows’ networking platform, the Hub, is not up to date.  


We facilitate open and honest discussion about the challenges our societies face, the solutions we have tried and what we’ve learned. We actively promote respect and tolerance for all peoples, societies and cultures, and we practise listening and empathy first, as the key to unlocking collaborative connections. As such, Fellows are expected to demonstrate the Trust’s shared values of inclusivity, tolerance, respect, and openness towards one another. 

Fellows must treat each other with dignity and respect, regardless of age, disability, gender identity, race, nationality, ethnic group, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, political beliefs and affiliations, family circumstances or any other type of distinction.  


Fellows are expected to follow the same values as highlighted in Clause 5 in their interactions with members of the public and other people associated with Trust – staff, trustees, guests, speakers, and facilitators. We ask Fellows to be respectful of the Trust team and guests, and mindful that they dedicate time in their busy schedules to participating and engaging with Fellows. Please keep in mind the need for curiosity, and open and active participation outlined in Clause 3 of this Charter.  

When representing the Trust formally (for example, at organised events) or informally (for example, identifying yourself as a John Smith Fellow on social media), you are an ambassador both for the Trust and for your home country. Your actions should reflect and uphold the Trust’s values of inclusivity, tolerance, respect, and openness. We will not tolerate inappropriate, harassing or abusive communication or behaviour towards our staff or guests.  


Becoming a John Smith Fellow is a lifelong opportunity and commitment. Upon completing the programme, Fellows become part of a collaborative community of change-makers from across Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. We provide ongoing opportunities for Fellows in our network to build lasting connections with, and learn from the experiences of, counterparts in the UK and across the region.  

We expect Fellows to continue with their commitment to the Trust as an active member of its network. We keep in regular contact with Fellows after the residential fellowship programme 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. Fellows should keep in mind the values they represent and not bring the Trust’s name into disrepute through their behaviour, whether deliberately or unintentionally. Fellows should not use the Trust name or brand in pursuit of any partisan political activity on behalf of a political party. 


Fellows are encouraged to promote their affiliation with the programme on all forms of online platforms and social media. However, Fellows should not purport that their views represent those of the Trust. Occasionally, Fellows may be asked to refrain from taking photographs or sharing information, but such cases will always be made clear ahead of the event.  

If you have any other questions, please email  and we will reply to you as soon as possible.