Common Purpose

Launched by former British Prime Minister David Cameron, Dishaa is a programme for emerging leaders that expands, enriches and energises relations between India and the UK.

The programme

Each year, 40 leaders in the mid-stage of their career with a track record of leadership (20 from the UK and 20 from India) will gather for four days - either in India or the UK - to address a set challenge. By fostering discussion among diverse leaders, Dishaa builds shared approaches to 21st century political, economic and social challenges and expands the existing partnerships, friendships and dialogues that are already taking place.

Who is it for?

The participants

Dishaa is best suited for leaders who wish to:

  • broaden and deepen their knowledge by experiencing how another city or country works
  • develop their Cultural Intelligence - the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures
  • build new networks by giving them access to a peer-group and leaders that they might otherwise never meet
  • develop their problem solving and influencing skills by throwing them into a complex challenge, with a diverse group, under pressure
  • stretch their analytical and creative skills by exposing them to new approaches to innovation.
Who has attended Dishaa before
  • a strategy consultant from an international professional services firm
  • a programme lead in the health service
  • a desk editor in the national media
  • a programme manager in the public sector
  • a freelance producer and artist
  • an asset manager in the petroleum industry
  • a programme officer for a world leading economic development organisation
  • a senior sales consultant for a large engineering company.

The Challenge

The Annual Challenge

On each programme, the participants are immersed in a Challenge and work together to come up with ideas and recommendations relevant to the challenge.

The Challenge is set by the Dishaa Advisory Group and is always:

  • a compelling issue for leaders that is common to both the UK and India
  • significant and wide-reaching in its impact but contained in its focus to ensure the participant group can explore and present feasible and meaningful solutions.

Each year, another challenge will be selected for that year's participants to investigate.

Past Challenges

Challenges from previous years include:

  • 2015: What makes a city SMART?
  • 2013: How can we produce a step change in the interface between the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and create transformational models that would allow them to work more effectively together?
  • 2012: As economies are driven by technology and knowledge, how do we ensure appropriate skills development to bridge the gap between education and employment?
  • 2011: Unique carbon cutting measures are happening locally in India and the UK. How do we accelerate and multiply our actions to reduce carbon emissions by 50% in the next five years?
  • 2010: Heart surgery at $1,000 (USD) - what has to change in how society operates and innovates to make this a reality?

Application process

Watch this space for Dishaa 2016. 

The process

Applications are invited from exceptional leaders in the mid stages of their careers who are keen to develop as they move towards more senior roles within their organisations or sectors. Applicants need to demonstrate:

  • a track record of leadership
  • ability to work with a diverse group to solve complex problems
  • commitment to engage with wider society/public life
  • interest in the UK/India dimension of the network.

All applications are reviewed by the Dishaa Advisory Group after which some applicants may be invited to an interview.

The cost

Course fees are as follows;

  • INR 1,25,000 for participants from India
  • GBP 4,000 plus VAT for participants from the UK

The fee includes all accommodation, food, materials and transportation for the duration of the four days. Please note that flights are NOT included.


Applicants who cannot pay the full fee should not be deterred from applying. There are a few part-scholarship places available for applicants who can demonstrate a clear need for financial assistance and who are unable to meet the full fee. Requests for scholarships can be made via the application form but if you would like to discuss this further then please contact the Dishaa team.

Contact us

If you have any questions or would like any more information, please get in touch. 

David O'Connor
Quality Director

T: +44 207 608 8115