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WISE Emerging Leaders is a nine-month fellowship program for the next generation of leaders in education who wish to embark on a learning journey that cultivates the mindsets, skills, and techniques necessary to thrive, nurture communities, and transform education systems. It is now entering its fifth consecutive year.

In a time when education is disrupted by multiple crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the burnout epidemic, and the ecological collapse, WISE believes it is ever more important to create stimulating and nourishing spaces for education leaders to come together, connect meaningfully, learn with each other, and collaborate for collective impact. Transforming education systems requires change at the structural and systemic levels, but also at the intrapersonal and interpersonal levels. Leaders who lead with self-awareness, compassion, and creativity, who cultivate their own and their team’s wellbeing, and who weave people and projects together are leaders who can spark innovation and systemic change.

The WEL Fellowship brings together 15–20 carefully selected young leaders in education from around the world in a hybrid format consisting of in-person residential sessions, a series of online workshops with education experts, a number of asynchronous reflective blog posts, a concrete project to apply in their organizations, and tailored mentoring support to develop their project.

WISE is seeking to collaborate with high-impact organizations to nominate young education professionals from within their organizations or network to support their personal and professional development. If you would like to nominate promising young leaders from your organization, please get in touch with

1. In-Person Residential Sessions

The WEL 2023 Fellows will participate in two in-person residential sessions*, which will be delivered by experienced facilitators.

  • First residential session: 31 May – 10 June 2023 near Milan, Italy.

  • Second residential session: Late November/early December in Doha, Qatar.

During these residential sessions, they will be guided through a series of experiential workshops and activities on topics such as:

  • Collaborative and weaving leadership

  • Personal sustainability and wellbeing

  • Systems change in education

  • Peer-learning and peer-coaching

  • Collaboration and co-creation

  • Project development

  • Storytelling for impact

  • Personal and group harvesting

WISE will cover the following costs for Fellows joining the residential sessions: return flights, accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, venue hire, and workshop material.

2. Online Workshops & Masterclasses

Fellows will integrate their learning journey with 8 online interactive workshops* aimed at deepening their connections, engaging with distinguished education experts, collaborating with each other, and reflecting on their progress in the Fellowship. Workshops generally focus on topics covered during the residential sessions, but also offer the opportunity to dive deeper into global education content, depending on the Fellows’ interests. Previous masterclasses with education experts have included topics such as:

  • Education for climate action

  • Non-traditional approaches to education

  • Remote learning during COVID-19 times

  • Ecoversities and alternative universities

  • Wellbeing for educators and wellbeing in education

  • Education policy implementation

  • Girls’ education and gender equality in education

  • Systems change: From theory to action

*The exact dates for the workshops will be communicated with the selected cohort of Fellows, but as a general guideline, the first 2 will take place before the first residential session and the remaining 6 after the first and before the second residential session. Each workshop will last 90 minutes.

3. Reflective Blog Posts & Vlogs

Fellows will reflect on their learning journey by submitting 4 blog posts or vlogs during the Fellowship (approximately every 2 months). They will receive comprehensive guidelines and reflection prompts and some of the blog posts will be published on the WISE website. Examples of previous published posts by WEL alumni include:

  • The beginner’s ear: Listening and leadership for systems change in higher education

  • Fostering wellbeing: Reflections on self sustainability

  • What comes to mind when you think of a leadership retreat for young educators?

4. Practical Projects

Fellows will apply what they are learning during the Fellowship through the design, development, and implementation of a project in their organizational context.

  • Fellows will identify a potential project with their organization at the moment of applying for the fellowship but may change it during the residential session.

  • Fellows will have the opportunity to start the design and development of their project during the residential session through a series of dedicated activities and tools.

  • Fellows will receive support through tailored mentoring. Please note that WISE does not dispense any funds to projects or individuals.

  • Fellows will be asked to submit regular updates in the form of blog posts (see previous section) about their project development, including a final project update at the end of the fellowship.

  • Fellows will work with their organization to pilot and/or implement the selected project during the Fellowship.

5. Tailored Mentoring

Fellows will be offered support in the development of their projects through tailored mentoring. WISE will match Fellows with their respective mentors after the first residential session and after having received an updated project description along with clear mentoring needs.

Important note: It is the Fellows’ responsibility to be proactive in their relationship with their mentor and make the most of this. WISE will provide useful tips during one of the online workshops on the mentor and protegé relationship.

6. Post-fellowship engagements

On a voluntary basis, WISE offers regular post-fellowship engagements, which are co-organized with the fellows to connect with alumni from the program. Those engagements include:

  • Alumni WhatsApp group for asynchronous updates & support

  • Check-in calls to reconnect, foster wellbeing, and exploring educational topics

  • Masterclasses with external experts on education

  • Sharing engagement opportunities and participation in events


  1. Candidates must be between the ages of 25 and 33.

  2. Candidates must hold a valid travel document and be willing to travel abroad for the residential session.

  3. Candidates should be proficient in spoken and written English and should be comfortable presenting and speaking in public.

  4. Candidates should demonstrate a degree of resilience that enables them to contribute fully to the program while also meeting other organizational and personal commitments.

  5. Candidates should be curious, open-minded, flexible, and comfortable in multicultural environments.

  6. Candidates have a strong profile showing a steady record of accomplishments in the field of education (academic, professional and/or personal). They have also been involved in education and/or development projects for at least 3 years.

  7. Candidates clearly demonstrate engagement in social issues and how they have sought to overcome them through innovative ideas, and initiatives.

  8. Candidates must demonstrate potential for growth within the nominating organization.

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