Fifty new Fellows and a stellar year for the Trust
2017 was one of the most successful years in the history of the John Smith Trust with fifty young leaders from 12 countries of the Former Soviet Union completing two major four-week Fellowship Programmes focused on social justice, good governance and the rule of law.
Fellows come from both the private and public sectors. They include diplomats, campaigners, government officials, thought leaders, social entrepreneurs, politicians, bloggers, project managers, mayors, teachers and strategists.
Highlights of the Programmes included question and answer sessions with senior politicians, lawyers, civil society activists, journalists and businessmen; masterclasses in the art of negotiation and advocacy from world-recognised practitioners; roundtables with leading academics and expert commentators on the region; and panel discussions on a diversity of subjects relating to the Trust’s key themes.
Both programmes began with a week in Scotland. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson shared their experiences candidly and openly. Fellows had the opportunity to see Scottish responses to a range of social and political challenges, including those relating to post-industrial urban development, crime and remote rural communities.
JST Fellows with First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
The individual ‘attachments programme’, arranged for each Fellow in response to their particular areas of interest continued to be a unique and much-valued component of the Programme. Attachments in 2017 saw Fellows visiting over 200 organisations throughout the UK – everything from peace and reconciliation initiatives in Northern Ireland, farms in Kent and Lincolnshire, socially-responsible businesses in Cornwall, e-governance projects in Essex, access to justice projects in Glasgow.
A new feature of the 2017 Programmes were sessions with former Fellows, who contributed to sessions on the role of media in a democracy, shared lessons of anti-corruption initiatives and reflected on the lessons they have learned since completing a Fellowship Programme.
Two Fellowship Programmes will run in 2018: one for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine; and one for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.