U21 Global Citizens

Universitas 21 Global Citizens is an online leadership development course, delivered by Common Purpose, a global not-for-profit organisation that specialises in Cross-Boundary Leadership, with 75 student spaces available per member institution.

Applications for Global Citizens 2022 have now closed. If you have applied you will hear from us after 27 September with the outcome of your application. If you have questions about your application or the programme, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

If you missed out on this programme would like to be added to the waiting list or to express an interest in future programmes, please complete this Expression of Interest form 

Hear from 2020 participant William about his experience on U21 Global Citizen

U21 is a truly global network of 28 universities that span 18 countries and 19 time zones, and throughout the course participants engage with and learn from students across the globe.  

By developing ideas together, across borders and time zones, students develop the skills needed to thrive in the 21st century whilst tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems, outlined in the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). With the support of Common Purpose’s trained facilitators, participants are guided to reflect on the improvement in their cultural competency and awareness throughout the course and how they, as individuals and as groups, can turn their learning into valuable global action.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Any registered student (post or undergraduate) at a U21 member university.
  • All applicants must be over the age of 18 at the time of the course start date. 

Please note students who have previous completed U21 Global Citizenship (Oct 2020, April 2021) will not be eligible to take part again.

Who should apply for the U21 Global Citizens course?

A hexagon of 6 colourful quadrants

Anyone who:

  • Wants to connect, learn and discuss global issues with students around the world.
  • Is interested in social and environmental challenges. 
  • Wants to experience international co-operation and leadership.
  • Is looking for like-minded individuals to develop ideas for social change. 
  • Is thinking of taking part in the U21 RISE competition to win funding for a social enterprise innovation.

What can I expect from U21 Global Citizens?

  • Being part of an online cohort of up to 2000 student innovators across the world. 
  • A minimum of 9 hours of learning across 3 weeks of online engagement, discussions and development.
  • The opportunity to undertake independent study at a time that suits you via the U21 Global Citizens online platform. 
  • Additional, optional online workshops run in real-time with students across the world to consolidate learning and create connections. Students will have the opportunity to choose to attend sessions at a time that suits them. Times for option live session for October 2022 are as follows (please ensure you convert each time to your local time zone - depending on your timezones dates might fall the day before or after what is listed below):

Week 1: Tuesday 4 October: 13:00-14:30 British Summer Time OR Wednesday 5 October: 02.00 – 03.30 British Summer Time OR Wednesday 5 October: 18:00 – 19.30 British Summer Time

Week 2: Tuesday 11 October: 18:00 – 19.30 British Summer Time OR Wednesday 12 October : 02.00 – 03.30 British Summer Time OR Wednesday 12 October :  13:00 – 14.30 British Summer Time

Post Course Reflection sessions 

Wednesday 26 October: 15:00 – 16.30 British Summer Time OR Thursday 27 October: 05.00 – 06.30 British Summer Time 

  • Time to work in smaller groups on the topics that interest you.
  • Access to insights from global leaders who will share their knowledge and experience.
Photo of Priyasha and Margarete.

“My biggest learning came from talking with students from around the world, it was amazing to hear their perspectives and realise that we all have a common goal. It is encouraging to know that there are many passionate students with different resources that when all pooled we can make a major impact for the best.”

2020 Participant, University of Connecticut


“It is a very unique experience to share and view the opinions of other people from different universities all around the globe.”

2020 Participant, University of New South Wales

Read more from our 2020 global citizens here.


What do I get for taking part in the course?

Upon completion of the course all participants will be:

  • Equipped to take rapid action on the Sustainable Development Goal that you choose.
  • Able to step outwards and collaborate with diverse networks.
  • Ready to challenge preconceptions and better inform people’s perspectives.
  • Better equipped to operate across hierarchies.
  • Better prepared to live and maintain your values and integrity.

All participants who complete the end of programme's final assessment will:

  • Receive a U21/Common Purpose micro-credential and badge which you can display on your LinkedIn profile, demonstrating that you have developed the skills to tackle complex global issues and stand up as a leader.
  • Gain access to the Common Purpose alumni community, with access to global leaders and opportunities to engage virtually.
  • Be in a position to move forward as an individual or with a group of like-minded individuals to progress their sustainable development goal. 

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.