U21 Global Leadership Programme

About the programme

Global Leadership Programme

The U21 Global Leadership programme reflects real dynamic challenges faced by U21 universities and explores the leadership required to meet those challenges - as individuals, as institutions and as a sector.  During the 4-week online programme, leaders connect with their peers around the world to share challenges and discuss diverse approaches in international education.

The theme for 2024 will be “Inclusive ​leadership in Higher Education”. The programme will explore how leaders can champion inclusivity ​and how universities can move towards the transformation needed to create inclusive educational ​Environments.

Who can take part

This is an exclusive opportunity for emerging and high potential leaders from academic and professional disciplines, specially selected from the world leading universities in the U21 membership.

Please note this is a programme for staff at U21 universities and places on the course are by nomination only.  For further information, please contact: programmes@universitas21.com 

Key dates

The U21 Global Leadership Programme is run between February and April each year in partnership with Common Purpose. The Senior Leader at each member institution will be invited to submit their nominations for this programme between October and December of the previous year.

The programme for 2024 will run from the 22nd February to the 21st March 2024. 

Module 1 live session – Thurs 29 Feb 10.00 – 11.00 SGT / 16.00 – 17.00 GMT

Module 2 live session – Thurs 7 Mar 10.00 – 11.00 SGT / 16.00 – 17.00 GMT

Module 3 live session – Thurs 14 Mar 10.00 – 11.00 SGT / 16.00 – 17.00 GMT

Module 4 live session – Thurs 21 Mar 10.00 – 11.00 SGT / 16.00 – 17.00 GMT

There is an overall time commitment of 8 hours for participants over the four weeks, with 4 hours of synchronous sessions and 4 hours of asynchronous sessions which can be undertaken by participants in their own time.

Why take part?

What to expect from the programme:

  • Global insights, from Higher Education and Industry, on trends, opportunities, and challenges 
  • Big conversations with global peers on topics which are relevant to your changing context 
  • Leadership tools, skills and mind-set for leading through transition, covering the themes of collaboration, innovation and adaptation  
  • Translating leadership concepts into an individual and institutional context and developing personal action plans  

The programme is a blend of engaging asynchronous content and short interactive synchronous sessions – delivered in two time zones – over a four-week period. On completion of the programme and a short reflective process, participating leaders receive a digital micro-credential. 

We are delighted that leaders from across the U21 network have contributed to the course content as well as leaders from other sectors. The course has a strong international flavour, with a globally diverse participant body, and has been designed to complement any local leadership training being offered in your own university.

Benefits / learning outcomes:

  • Broadened global horizons – exposure to multiple perspectives, experiences, and cultures  
  • Development of connections with peers who share similar challenges, working in different contexts 
  • Increased confidence in facing current and future challenges and, therefore, better prepared to navigate and lead through change 
  • Enhanced  understanding of the skills and mindset required for more effective collaboration and adaptation – and how that applies personally


Participant Testimonies from past Cohorts

"To say there will be one action as a result of this programme would be undervaluing the impact I feel it has had on my thought process, my outlook and my understanding of the core leadership themes."

"This programme came at the perfect time for me. This time of ambiguity and complexity has required me to pivot my priorities at work and home. The impact of learning more about yourself, what motivates you and how your react to life events was powerful."

"Whether it's Covid-19, another pandemic or a digital virus, an environmental crisis, civil unrest, or the slow creep of social issues in our society, the ambiguity and complexity is almost certain to continue and surviving it will not be enough. We need to learn to thrive in this new "normal" environment and find ways to make the most of the opportunities that ambiguity can bring." 

Who are Common Purpose? 

Common Purpose is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1989 that develops leaders who can operate across boundaries. They deliver face-to-face and online leadership programmes for multiple generations of leaders: from students to senior leaders in organisations and society.