Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Belarus’ Fellowship

Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Belarus’ Fellowship

Deadline: 23-Jun-24

The John Smith Trust has announced its Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Belarus’ Fellowship to supports leaders with passion and purpose to achieve their vision for fairer, more sustainable and inclusive societies.

After last year’s successful pilot programme, the John Smith Trust is running a bespoke Fellowship Programme for Belarusian leaders and change-makers living in exile in 2024-5. The Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Belarus’ Fellowship is for exceptional professionals living in exile and working towards a free and peaceful future for their country.

It brings together exceptional Belarusian professionals from different sectors, including civil society, journalism, politics, social enterprise, education and business, who are working to improve governance, justice and sustainability in their society and beyond.

The hybrid programme is a chance for Fellows to gain insights into the values, ways of working, and challenges faced by people and institutions in the UK, and to connect with counterparts and learn from each other’s work. The programme is comprised of a series of online workshops followed by a week-long residential programme in the UK. Each Fellow will participate in a core programme of group workshops and visits and have an individually-tailored programme of meetings related to their Action Plan. After completing the programme, Fellows will join the collaborative community of John Smith Fellows and will have the opportunity to participate in network activities. All their programmes are rooted in the belief that the way to find sustainable solutions is to work together, listening and learning from each other.

Focus Areas

  • The Trust selects exceptional and influential future leaders who are already making an impact in one or more of the following areas
    • governance and justice,
    • climate and sustainability and
    • equality, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Fellows can work in any sector, e.g., politics, non-profit sector (civil society, NGOs, think tanks, research/education institutions, media) or private sector (legal professions, business/social business, finance).

What you will get?

  • They provide a bursary to cover the costs of return economy flights from a Fellow’s home country/territory to the UK and a visa, if required. They cover accommodation in the UK, travel within the UK as required by the programme, and daily subsistence for the duration of the UK programme. All costs related to the workshops, visits, meetings and attachments in the UK are covered by the Trust.
  • Please note: Fellows are responsible for the cost and provision of their own medical and travel insurance during the residential programme in the UK.
  • Duration
    • The hybrid programme will run from October 2024 until the end of February 2025.


  • They are looking for people ready to make a substantial commitment to participate actively in the UK residential programme and in the fortnightly online events that make up the rest of the hybrid fellowship programmes. Additionally, those who particularly excel during the fellowship programmes will have the opportunity to take part in further regional and/or UK based network events.
  • After the residential programme in the UK, Fellows are expected to implement their action plan, and to become an active member of the Trust’s network of Fellows in the long term.
  • They facilitate open and honest discussion about the challenges the societies face, the solutions they’ve tried and what they’ve learned. As such, Fellows are expected to demonstrate the John Smith Trust’s shared values, including tolerance, respect and openness towards one another at all times, in accordance with their Fellows’ Charter.
  • Once you’re selected for a fellowship programme, they require a letter of support from your employer to approve your time away from work.

Eligibility Criteria

  • To apply you must:
    • be a citizen of Belarus living outside of their country.
    • be aged 25-35.
    • be in permanent employment.
    • speak and write fluent English (preferably having already studied or worked in English).
    • demonstrate a commitment to the John Smith Trust’s shared values of tolerance, respect and openness towards one another at all times. The Trust strongly condemns Russia’s unlawful act of aggression on Ukraine and supports the people of Ukraine who are defending their freedom. Fellows who take part in their programmes are expected to accept this position.
    • demonstrate your potential as a leader in your chosen professional field, committed to building a fairer, more sustainable, and inclusive society in Belarus.
    • demonstrate a clear professional interest in one or more of these areas, and a broad interest in all three: climate and sustainability, governance and justice, and equality, diversity and inclusion.
    • propose an ‘Action Plan’ addressing a challenge in policy or practice in your field of expertise aimed at contributing to the development of a free and peaceful future for Belarus, which you intend to implement after the programme, and which will be informed by your experience in the UK.
    • be prepared to make a substantial commitment if selected as a Fellow: to dedicate time and effort into making the most of the hybrid programme and participating actively in the Fellow’s online and in-person community in the long term.
  • Please note that the candidates selected are those whom the Trust feels will make the most significant long-term positive impact on their society’s development and not the development of their own careers.

For more information, visit John Smith Trust.

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