What we do

The Trust runs Fellowship Programmes, targeting countries of the former Soviet Union and the Middle East & Gulf.  In Spring 2017, we launched a new Fellowship Programme for Russia, the Caucasus and Wider Europe. In late 2017 we launched a new Central Asia programme.

The Fellowship is frequently described as a life changing experience.

The network now spans 19 countries and has over 500 Fellows.

In this video, JST Fellow Talant Sultanov from Kyrgyzstan talk about his experience of our 2013 Programme:

The JST runs intensive month-long fellowship programmes in the UK, for young and potential leaders from the Wider Europe and Central Asia regions, and fosters an active alumni network. Through the fellowship programmes and alumni network, the JST shares the UK’s experiences (good and bad) of how a mature democracy deals with social justice and the rule of law in both theoretical and practical terms. It provides a supportive and challenging environment in which to develop knowledge, ideas and leadership skills, and creates important networks and relationships.

Residential Programme

The month-long fellowship programmes consist of the following three main elements:

  • Workshops, talks, discussions and debates on good governance, social justice and rule of law: A rich variety of content is provided through which fellows can learn about the ‘workings of a mature democracy’ in the UK (not just in London), including the challenges faced. A core tenet of the JST approach is that it provides fellows with the opportunity to step away from their regular work for a period and to consider issues in a broader context and from varying perspectives. Sessions are also included which focus on the context in the fellows’ own region.
  • Action plan meetings: Each fellow comes to the JST programme with an action plan for promoting good governance, rule of law or social justice in their country, which they will develop and adapt as a result of their JST experience. Fellows are expected to begin implementing their action plans on their return home and to update the JST on progress after 6 and 12 months. Each fellow’s month in the UK includes a tailored 4-day programme of meetings specifically selected on the basis of their action plan focus, with relevant experts and organisations from whom they can seek advice and potentially develop lasting relationships.
  • Leadership skills: Training and interactive sessions are included, to build fellows’ interpersonal, communication and leadership skills. These ‘learning by doing’ sessions, focused on developing fellows’ ‘soft skills’, should assist them in navigating the challenges inherent in promoting new ideas and approaches in challenging circumstances.

The Network

The alumni network is an online and in-person community through which fellows can stay in touch, share learning and experience, debate issues of good governance, social justice and rule of law, and develop collaborative initiatives. The JST convenes regional alumni network events, invites alumni members to present at subsequent fellowship programmes, and provides a space where alumni can initiate their own ways of working together.


© The John Smith Trust 2020 - Registered Charity 1174898 - Company registered in England number 7284602