New Fellowship Programmes in Russia, the Caucasus, Wider Europe and Central Asia


The John Smith Trust is launching new Fellowship Programmes in Russia, the Caucasus, Wider Europe and Central Asia thanks to a two-year grant from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

 The aim of the Fellowship Programmes is to give the next generation of leaders in the region the chance to explore issues of governance, social justice and the rule of law through an intensive four-week series of workshops, debates, visits and placements in the UK, reinforced by follow-up mentoring and support.

For the past two decades, the John Smith Trust (JST) has successfully delivered over 20 fellowship programmes in countries of the former Soviet Union, and has more than 400 alumni from the region. This new phase of the programme will build on its track-record to create a powerful experience which is relevant to the challenges these young leaders face, and which forges enduring relationships with and between participants.

Two programmes will be held each year in 2017 and 2018: one for Russia, the Caucasus and the Wider Europe in late spring/early summer; and one for Central Asia in late autumn. The new JST Fellowship will cover new countries; it will strengthen its online presence; and enhance its Alumni Network, with a milestone event planned in the UK in 2018.

The John Smith Trust is a cross-party permanent memorial to Rt Hon John Smith QC, MP, who led the Labour Party between 1992 and 1994. For more information see

‘The UK is uniquely well-positioned to share the experiences – good and bad – of how a mature democracy handles issues relating to governance, rule of law and social justice in both theoretical and practical terms,’ says JST Chair Baroness Catherine Ashton. ‘I am very much looking forward to the next two years, and very grateful for the FCO’s support.’

‘This is a very exciting time for the Trust,’ says JST Founding Trustee Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill. ‘Above all, we should remember that the Fellows are at the heart of everything we do. They make the programme what it is; they are always spirited, thoughtful and engaged and we’re very much looking forward both to renewing old friendships and making new ones.’

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