Syrian Diaspora Leaders programme

A programme for Syrian leaders in the diaspora that aims to build their capacity to contribute to Syria and to the diaspora community.

Common Purpose is running a programme for Syrian diaspora leaders which aims to build their capacity to contribute to Syria and to the diaspora community in the UK.

It will draw on our experience of the programmes in 2017 and 2018 and our work with other diaspora leaders from communities such as Libya, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

It will help participants develop new thinking, skills, connections and practical tools so they can make a greater impact.

Participant, Syrian Diaspora Leaders Programme 2018

“The programme was an inspiring event where I learned a lot of new ideas, formed new friends and widened my experience.”

Who is it for?

Why take part?

The experience will help participants to:

  • stretch their analytical and creative skills by exposing them to a new approach to innovation
  • develop their Cultural Intelligence, the ability to cross boundaries and thrive in multiple cultures
  • enhance their ability to Lead Beyond Authority – to lead in situations where they have no formal power, key for diaspora leaders
  • build new networks, by giving them access to participants and contributors they might otherwise never meet
  • develop their thinking on possible futures for Syria and grow their capacity to translate that thinking into positive action.
Who takes part?

We invite applications from exceptional leaders from the Syrian diaspora – from those early in their careers, to 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.

The challenge

The programme focuses on a challenge: “How can diaspora leaders use their skills, talents and networks to benefit Syria 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 from every possible angle – visiting organizations and meeting leaders with knowledge of Syria, 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 beyond the programme. 

Participant, Syrian Diaspora Leaders Programme 2018

“The programme is a great opportunity not only to get exposure to leadership skills and concepts, but also the scope it provides to work with other Syrians who are all from very diverse backgrounds. It is rich in the diversity of people, content and prospects.”

Case Studies

A number of interviews were conducted with participants during the 2017 programme. A selection of these can be viewed below:

Common Purpose Syrian Diaspora Leaders Programme: Ranya

Reem Assil, Founding Member, Syrian Nonviolence Movement

Sleman Shwaish, Refugee Service Coordinator, British Red Cross


When and where?
18–21 June 2019, Manchester

How much?
There is no cost to the participants except for travel and accommodation (as required). Some bursaries are available for those outside Manchester.

How do I apply?
Click on the online form here
Application deadline: 3 June 2019

How do I find out more?

Penny Appeal

Penny Appeal is an international humanitarian and development organisation that provides relief in 30 plus countries as well as a substantive suite of programmes in the UK too. Since founded in 2009, we have transformed lives and empowered communities around the world, helping to break the poverty cycle and build brighter futures. All our projects are carefully constructed and designed to be accessible and effective. They are a blend of emergency support, short term relief and long term sustainable interventions.

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 80,000 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.