CDPB launches new Fellowship programme for mid-career political and civic leaders

The Centre for Democracy and Peace Building has today launched a prestigious new Fellowship programme to support, develop and build the capacity of 24 mid-career leaders in civic society, business, and politics in Northern Ireland.

Opening for applications today, the programme aims to strengthen democratic institutions and ensure that the current and future cadres of political and civic leaders in Northern Ireland are best placed to lead into the next decade and navigate through complexity and challenges.

The Fellowship is delivered by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (CDPB), working with key stakeholders and facilitators from the business sector and leading academic institutions. The programme is supported by Allstate NI, Devenish, FinTrU, Fujitsu NI, Ulster Carpets, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In discussions with leading policymakers, academics, business leaders and public figures, Fellows will engage with global social, political and economic issues and seek to develop their understanding of how to tackle those issues in Northern Ireland. This includes a conversation with former NI Assembly Speaker Lord Alderdice on conflict, complexity, and cooperation and engagement with renowned Irish poet Pádraig Ó Tuama and award-winning Turkish-British novelist and women’s rights activist Elif Shafak, set to discuss global divisions. The programme’s Advisory Board, which includes prominent Northern Irish business leaders, will curate sessions seeking to re-imagine leadership in Northern Ireland.

The chosen participants will study at the internationally renowned Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. The School’s Dean, Professor Ngaire Woods, who specialises in international governance and was awarded a CBE for services to Higher Education and Public Policy in 2018, will lead participants through discussions on strategic communications in polarised contexts with application for both here and abroad.

Through collaboration with leading academics and practitioners such as Professor of Practice in the Management of Public Organisations at Blavatnik and a former Constitution Director at the UK Government, Ciaran Martin, the Fellowship will help our civic, business, and political leaders deliver better outcomes for the communities and organisations they serve.

Those interested can complete the Fellowship application form at HERE where they will be asked to upload their CV and a short essay.

The Fellowship’s Advisory Board includes:

  • John Healy, Managing Director at Allstate NI (Chair)
  • Professor Karise Hutchinson, Professor of Leadership at Ulster University (Vice-Chair).
  • Darragh McCarthy, CEO, FinTrU;
  • Owen Brennan, Chairman, Devenish;
  • Deepa Mann-Kler, CEO, Neon and Visiting Professor, Ulster University;
  • David Clements, Managing Director, Fujitsu NI;
  • Nick Coburn, Managing Director, Ulster Carpets.

John Healy, Managing Director at Allstate NI and Chair of the Fellowship Advisory Board, said:

“I am thrilled to be launching the Fellowship today, a brilliant initiative which promises to give our political and civic leaders the knowledge, skills and relationships they require to lead Northern Ireland into the next decade. The chosen 24 candidates will engage in a bespoke programme of academic, leadership and communication development working alongside the UK and Ireland’s brightest minds in a range of fields. I look forward to working with Karise and the wider Advisory Board over the coming months as we work to implement the first of many successful Fellowship programmes in Northern Ireland.”

Karise Hutchinson, Professor of Leadership at Ulster University and Vice-Chair of the Fellowship Advisory Board, said:

“Since its establishment in 1998, the Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended many times. Governance arrangements here continue to be fragile, and supporting our political, civic and business leaders has never been more important. The Fellowship programme offers participants the opportunity to engage with leading public figures and University of Oxford academics, to help them deliver better outcomes for the people they serve or the organisation they are a part of. Successful applicants will take part in an excellent programme giving them the confidence and ability they require to address Northern Ireland’s economic, social and political challenges going forward. I am very proud to be supporting this fantastic programme alongside my colleagues in the Advisory Board, and I would encourage all those eligible to apply soon.”