Starting this week, 55 emerging leaders from 31 countries who are in the United States on the State Department’s Community Solutions Program begin their four-month fellowships in cities across the United States. The fellows, who have distinguished themselves as emerging leaders on social issues, are working with American counterparts at non-profit organizations and at government offices, collaborating on projects that will provide skills and ideas for creating lasting change in their home communities.
Started in 2010, the Community Solutions Program is a professional development program for global community leaders working in the fields of transparency and accountability, tolerance and conflict resolution, environmental issues, and women’s issues. During their fellowships, the emerging leaders spend up to 400 hours learning leadership and organizational skills through training courses and more than 600 hours at their U.S. host organizations. The fellows also design community development projects that they implement upon returning to their home countries.
The State Department places fellows in cities including San Francisco, San Antonio, New York, and Chicago, in cooperation with partner IREX. Over the past four years, Community Solutions has consistently identified engaged leaders who are committed to the ideal that individual efforts can fight poverty and discrimination, correct inequalities, cultivate peace, and develop new approaches to environmental issues. Previous fellows have returned home to initiate projects such as creating libraries and introducing inclusive education into curriculum. They have received awards for their humanitarian efforts and been named international emerging leaders by organizations that include National Geographic.