Pakistani Diaspora Leaders Programme

For leaders who want to increase their impact in Pakistan and the UK – and build bridges between the two. 

Common Purpose has worked with diaspora leaders for many years – we run programmes for specific diaspora communities and for leaders across the many different diaspora of the world. We see how diaspora leaders add value both where they are and in their places of heritage. We believe that they are uniquely placed to be bridge builders at a time when there are many forces of fragmentation.

We are running our fourth Pakistani Diaspora Leaders Programme for people who want to build their capacity to contribute both to Pakistan and to the diaspora community in the UK. It aims to inspire new ideas, and equip the participants with the connections and tools to make a greater impact.

After the programme, participants will join a dynamic group of alumni from many different sectors and backgrounds.

Who is it for?

Who takes part?

We invite applications from exceptional leaders from the Pakistani diaspora. Applicants can be in the early stage of their careers or more established leaders.

We are seeking a participant group that includes people from different generations. They may have experience of leadership from different walks of life and from any sector.

Why take part?

This experience will help participants to:

  • enhance their ability to Lead Beyond Authority – the ability to lead in situations where they have no formal authority, which is key for diaspora leaders
  • develop their thinking on possible futures for Pakistan – and grow their capacity to translate that thinking into positive action
  • build new networks – by giving them access to participants and contributors they might otherwise never meet
  • develop their Cultural Intelligence – the ability to cross boundaries and thrive in multiple cultures, by throwing them into a difficult task with a diverse group
  • stretch their analytical and creative skills – by exposing them to a new approach to innovation

The Challenge

The programme focuses on a challenge: “How can diaspora leaders use their skills, talents and networks to benefit Pakistan and the diaspora community?”  

This challenge will provide the framework for the programme. Over four days participants are guided through a process of creativity and innovation, to explore the challenge through every possible angle – visiting organizations and meeting leaders with knowledge of Pakistan, development challenges and/or diaspora leadership.

Participants work up practical ideas in response to the challenge, which they present to a panel of senior leaders at the end of the programme. They then work on their ideas individually and collectively, building long-lasting connections and developing projects that can be prototyped in the ‘real world’ beyond the programme.

Shaida Akbar, Vice President, Pakistan Welfare Association – Participant, Pakistani Diaspora Leaders Programme 2018

“The programme brings together peoples different skills in a productive environment, to start making Pakistan a better place.” 

Pakistani Diaspora Leaders Programme 2017 and  2018 Outcomes


said they are better able to spot common ground and make connections between people


said they are better able to lead or operate within a diverse team


said they would recommend the programme to another person

Shumailla's Pakistani Diaspora Leaders experience

Shumailla Dar participated in the 2018 Pakistani Diaspora Leaders programme in London, joining 29 other emerging leaders from different sectors and organizations. Here, Shumailla shares her experience of the programme in her own words. 

Nusrat's reflections on the 2019 Pakistani Diaspora Leaders Programme

Nusrat Ahmed, Manchester Museum's South Asia Gallery Community Producer, reflects on some of the ideas, connections and skills that she gained through the Pakistani Diaspora Leaders Programme.

Asad Ansari, Business Analyst / Operations Director, Deloitte – Participant, Pakistani Diaspora Leaders Programme 2018

“The diaspora leaders’ course enables you to unlock the potential within you. Allowing you to grow personally and as part of a team.”

British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. Working in over 100 countries around the world.

British Council Pakistan manages a range of activities that sit within four strategic business units (SBUs): English, Arts, Education, and Society. We provide educational opportunities, build the capacity of educators, give voice to young people, strengthen links between universities, and develop cultural understanding through leadership training and education. We are committed to a brighter future for Pakistan through working with the diaspora.

Common Purpose 

Common Purpose is a leadership development organization that specializes in cross-boundary leadership. A not-for-profit, we run programmes in over 100 cities worldwide. Founded in 1989, we have over 85,000 alumni globally. Our leadership development programmes inspire and equip people to work across boundaries. This enables them to solve complex problems in organizations and in society.


Applications for the 2019 Pakistani Diaspora Leaders programme are now closed. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about this programme.