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Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellowship Program 2018, USA



March 31, 2018


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Advanced Leadership Program

The Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellowship is designed to enhance and leverage the skills of highly accomplished, experienced leaders who want to apply their talents to solve significant social problems, including those affecting health and welfare, children and the environment, and focus on community and public service in the next phase of their careers.

During their year at Harvard, ALI Fellows will be able to take advantage of the vast intellectual resources of the University to learn, teach, mentor, consult, reflect and plan in preparation for their ALI project work.

Core Course

Challenges and Opportunities in Advanced Leadership (COAL)


  • Intensive integrated curriculum on Advanced Leadership themes and major global issues
  • Extensive readings and preparation assignments for each session
  • Faculty lectures and facilitated discussions, with useful frameworks and tools for leading change
  • Includes dinner and open discussion

This course meets weekly for three hours from February through mid-May, picking up again for a two-day session in September. It includes short field visits tied to session discussions and involves multiple reading assignments or cases per session.

Deep Dives


  • 2-3 day "deep dive" sessions, each focused on one major global or community challenge (such as health care, education, and communities or environment) where ALI Fellows might fill a gap
  • ALI Fellows will contribute ideas based on their experience and knowledge for immediate solution-seeking with major figures in the field under discussion and with affected constituencies
  • Faculty-facilitated problem-solving discussions with useful frameworks and tools

Deep Dives generally are scheduled between COAL sessions in late February/early March, late March, and late April, with linkages to COAL themes (and vice versa). Deep Dives, themselves a pedagogical innovation, include readings, outside experts, often students from relevant Harvard programs, and a focus on problem-solving and practical applications of knowledge.

Course Auditing


  • ALI Fellows may individualize their experience by auditing available courses in many areas of the University, with an instructor's permission
  • Courses can be in fields relevant to ALI Fellows' projects or enriching ideas
  • Choices can range widely-from humanities to science, professional schools to area studies
  • ALI Fellows may audit up to two courses

Course audits are a highly valued and valuable part of the Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellowship and represent the individualized part of the program, in which ALI Fellows pursue knowledge relevant to their project domains. To help ALI Fellows work their way through course catalogues and master the process for getting instructor permission to register, students have been hired. ALI Fellows have registered to audit at ten different Schools at Harvard: Harvard Business School, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

Project Development


  • ALI Fellows will develop their next-step plan or intervention, with access to Harvard's intellectual resources
  • Many Faculty available for input and collaboration
  • ALI Fellows may work with students to help them advance their projects

ALI Fellows are expected to engage with the intellectual resources of Harvard University to produce projects of significance that can serve as a central focus for their next productive years. This means a plan for action that will unfold over time, rather than a finished product such as a doctoral dissertation – although a few ALI Fellows’ projects take the form of books or films. 

In May, current ALI Fellows present project ideas to past ALI Fellows who return for an exchange of ideas. During summer and fall, ALI Fellows develop their independent projects and ready them for presentation at November’s Final Symposium. Sometimes, ALI Fellows travel to conduct field research during the summer, or research independently, or with student assistance. ALI Fellows are encouraged to work independently, as the project will be their individual responsibility once they leave Harvard. There is also an option for ALI Fellows to enroll in additional Harvard courses during Fall term. However, the development of a coherent project or business plan is the prime focus of the second half of the year and the culmination of the Advanced Leadership experience.

Fellowship Experience


  • Opportunities to work with peers with equally distinguished careers
  • ALI Fellows may choose to participate in many of the intellectual, social, and cultural events occurring on campus
  • Events with past ALI Fellows promote exchange of ideas and amplify impact

Advanced Leadership Network membership continues beyond the Fellowship year. Gatherings occur at Harvard several times a year to multiply the impact of projects, form partnerships, and exchange expertise.

Post-Fellowship, our Advanced Leaders continue to transform the world in many different ways, including starting a new social venture, writing a book or other publication, or leading a cause or mission-driven organization. Past ALI Fellows are now part of a vibrant, global network of peers who continue to engage with the Harvard community as they collaborate on positively changing the world.

Selection Criteria and Process

The process of identifying promising candidates begins approximately a year in advance and continues over 6-9 months in several rounds. Interested candidates may opt in at anytime, including late in the process. Selection is done by a Faculty Selection Committee representing diverse parts of Harvard University.

Distinctive features include:

  • The ALI Fellowship is for top leaders with at least twenty years of leadership experience in any field or profession wanting to make (or continue to make) a signficant difference in the world as they move on to a new life phase.
  • The Harvard affiliation is for a calendar year, January-December, not an academic year. Most of the formal program occurs in the first four months on campus, with individual flexibility and project work for the remainder of the year.
  • Distinguished faculty from many fields lead the core program, and areas of the University are open for course audits (with faculty permission). ALI Fellows audit up to two courses.
  • ALI Fellows work closely together as a strong peer group and provides a valuable set of perspectives on each ALI Fellow’s work. ALI Fellows have opportunities to work with undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
  • The focus is on action — helping ALI Fellows identify and make progress on a promising project with high impact potential.

Timetable for Selection

Candidates for the fellowship are considered in four rounds. Select leaders of unusual distinction may be invited at other times at the discretion of the Faculty Selection Committee. The deadlines for candidates for the 2019 Fellowship are: 

Decision Round





Date for Submission of Expression of Interest and C.V.

March 31, 2018

April 30, 2018

May 31, 2018

June - August 31, 2018

For more information and to apply click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" green button below.

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