Two women in conversation


Bringing together leaders from across the many different diaspora of the world

Connecting leaders who want to increase their impact at home and in their place of heritage – and build bridges between the two.

Diaspora leaders – because they have feet in multiple places – are often natural interpreters. They 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. 

To help leaders to fulfil their bridge-building promise, we designed and delivered the leadership programme, Diaspora, which will: 

  • develop cross-boundary leadership skills, drawing on our thought leadership in Leading Beyond Authority and Cultural Intelligence
  • increase impact and social capital where they live, in their places of heritage, between the two and between each other
  • amplify their efforts by growing a community of people who support, challenge and collaborate with one another.

Our aim is to generate a more effective, inspired and coordinated diaspora effort in the world. 


United Diaspora

Our first United Diaspora programme brought together young and emerging diaspora leaders across the many different diaspora of the world. By developing their leadership skills and growing a multi diaspora community of bridge-builders, participants learnt how to lead across boundaries, helped each other to find their own identity and purpose, shared experiences and strategies for diaspora action, and they developed ideas for collaboration across diaspora.

2017 - 2021

Syrian Diaspora Leaders Programme

Syrian Diaspora Leaders Programme brought together leaders to build their capacity to contribute both to Syria and to the diaspora community in the UK. Funded by Islamic Relief, it aimed to inspire new ideas and equip the participants with the connections and tools to make a greater impact.


Pakistani Diaspora Leaders Programme

Common Purpose and the British Council have partnered to run leadership programmes for the Pakistani diaspora community in the UK. The aim is to build the capacity of Pakistani Diaspora leaders from different backgrounds, sectors and generations to have a greater impact both in Pakistan and in the diaspora community in the UK. The programme has built a strong alumni community of 112 people from England, Scotland and Wales.

2015 - 2021

Bangladeshi Diaspora Leaders Programme

In partnership with the British Council and LEAD Bangladesh the aim on this programme is to support Bangladeshi Diaspora leaders to increase their impact both in Bangladesh and in the UK, and to provide mentorship and expertise to young leaders working on social action projects in Bangladesh. The social action projects address three key areas of Bangladesh's development linked to the Sustainable Development Goals of Social entrepreneurship, Climate impact and Democratic inclusion.

2018 - 2020

Civil Society Leaders Programme

Delivered in collaboration with the Asfari Foundation and the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at AUB, the Civil Society Leaders programme brought together emerging civil society leaders from the Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian communities in Lebanon. The participants worked together, in a fresh and exciting ways, to develop innovative ideas to tackle common challenges.

18 June 2020

How Dan redefined inclusion

Our United Diaspora alumni used his passion for inclusion and representation to build a supportive platform for LGBTQ+ Africans and asylum seekers.

Will Somerville
UK Director, Unbound Philanthropy
"We supported Common Purpose because we were impressed by their programmes for diaspora leaders. What was most inspiring was the quality of the people taking part, and the way that the programmes unleashed their creativity and new energy to tackle the challenges in their communities in the UK, and their countries of origin. The value that diaspora leaders can bring was really evident."