Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Russia’ Fellowship

Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Russia’ Fellowship

Deadline: 23-Jun-24

The John Smith Trust calls for applications for its Leaders in Exile: ‘Future of Russia’ Fellowship to support Fellows to work together and individually to develop the insights and skills needed to build the kinds of societies they want to live in in the future.

The John Smith Trust’s new Leaders in Exile Programmes are for leaders with passion and purpose who are living in exile and working towards their vision of a free and peaceful future for their country. The Future of Russia programme brings together exceptional Russian professionals from different sectors, including civil society, journalism, politics, social enterprise, business, education, the arts, science and technology, whose work contributes towards improving future governance, justice and sustainability in their society and beyond.

The programme will foster a collaborative community of leaders and change-makers with a firm commitment to the values at the heart of the John Smith Trust: openness, equity, curiosity, connection and courage. The hybrid programme offers 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.

Fellows will participate in a core programme of group workshops and visits as well as an individually tailored programme 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 online and in person.

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 programme will run from October 2024 to 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

  • For this year’s pilot programme, they will select Fellows based on the following criteria:
    • Russian citizen living in exile outside the Russian Federation (no residence requirements)
    • NOT connected to the Russian state or state-affiliated bodies or who have actively supported the war
    • Demonstrated support for the Trust’s position on the war and a demonstrated commitment to progressing shared values of tolerance, respect openness as well as governance that is rules-based and people-focused
    • Demonstrated potential as a leader in your chosen professional field, committed to building a fairer, more sustainable, and inclusive society in Russia
    • Aged over 25 and under 40
    • 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 Russia, which you intend to implement after the programme, and which will be informed by your experience in the UK.
  • 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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