Preparing to make a leadership “leap”?

Potential leaders focused on obtaining top transnational NGO leadership positions and executives building a succession plan for their organizations should carefully consider this critical question.

The Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University is pleased to announce the seventh annual Transnational NGO Leadership Institute. This specialized “leap” program offers leadership training for up-and-coming international NGO leaders seeking top NGO positions. Global professionals from all regions, sectors and organizational sizes are invited to attend a cost-effective, intensive and interdisciplinary program in Syracuse, New York, USA. Institute attendees transitioning to top leadership positions will be provided with state of the art knowledge about NGO leadership, competency and talent development approaches, as well as strategic and analytical skills. The program will allow participants to examine their personal leadership style, expand specific competencies and roles, network with peers and experts, and benefit from practical applications tailored to their needs. This year’s Leadership Institute program will emphasize, among others, organizational diversity and inclusion strategies in INGOs as a currently pressing issue.

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is a consistently top-ranked public affairs professional school in the United States (U.S. News and World Report ranking of American public affairs graduate schools). Maxwell’s Executive Education Program was the first university-based program in the United States dedicated solely to the purpose of leadership training.

By participating in the Institute, you can expect to:

Understand the effect of your leadership style

The Institute provides an initial leadership assessment for each attendee. Participants will be able to gauge the impact of their leadership style when facing challenges and opportunities in their operating environment.

Expand and test specific leadership competencies

Participants will examine five issues they are likely to encounter when making this leadership “leap.” Customized, proven and interactive learning approaches from Maxwell faculty and staff will be combined with the expertise of top NGO leaders who have made this leap, to look at the following topics:

  • Leading in a Complex Context: the impact of personal/individual leadership styles; strategic leadership behavior choices; leadership vs. management; the broader landscape of actors and issues
  • Leading and Managing Organizational Change: leading and managing macro as well as micro level organizational change; organizational design; board leadership; diversity and inclusion strategies
  • Collaboration and Crisis: communication, collaborative arrangements and leadership; leadership in crisis; leadership and stress
  • Politics and Power Relationships: persuasion, symbolic leadership and advocacy
  • Strategic Decision-Making and Performance Management: resource planning, allocation and management


The six-day itinerary includes individual and group study, plenary sessions, group exercises, cases and simulations, experiential creative activities and networking opportunities. Attendees will explore one of the beautiful lakeside villages located in the Finger Lakes region during part of the program. Despite the rigorous schedule, participants will be given maximum time to network and build relationships with others facing similar challenges.

Reaping actionable benefits.

As a companion to the five-day Transnational NGO Leadership Institute curriculum, Maxwell School researchers and executive education experts offer customized research for attendees, which provide them with insight into their specific leadership and organizational challenges. There will be opportunities before and after the Institute for participants to engage in collaborative conversations, information sharing, and networking via a dedicated website.

What well-known NGO leaders say about the Leadership Institute

Our inaugural Transnational NGO Leadership Institute, offered in September 2011, immediately received excellent reviews, which since have been repeated:

“Leaders of transnational NGOs are called upon to exercise influence on the key global issues of our times even as they manage large, complex organizations with accountability to a diverse range of stakeholders. I believe that this unique initiative from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs at Syracuse University fills a critical gap in ensuring aspiring TNGO leaders acquire the knowledge, skills and orientation necessary to take on those challenging responsibilities.”

      Ingrid Srinath, former Secretary General of CIVICUS

“In our complex global environment, strong, diverse leadership is essential to the success of the international movement to address global poverty and advance social justice. The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University is doing a great    service by supporting rising leaders and building the talent pool.”

      Lindsay Coates, former President of InterAction

The Leadership Institute has been guided by the following Steering Group members:

The Leadership Institute has been guided by the following Steering Group members

Adriano Campolina, Country Director, ActionAid Brazil

Lindsay Coates, Managing Director, BRAC

Susan Hayes, former President and CEO, ReSurge International, and Board Member, InterAction

Sherine Jayawickrama, former Manager, Development and Humanitarian Relief NGOs, Hauser Center for Non Profits, Harvard University

Mark Sidel, Professor of Law, University of Iowa and President, International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR)

Ramesh Singh, former CEO, ActionAid and Visiting Fellow, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard University; former Organization Director, Greenpeace International

Ingrid Srinath, Director - Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP), Ashoka University, former Secretary General, CIVICUS

Inge Wallage, Managing Director, European Association of Communication Directors, former Director of Communications, Greenpeace

Adam Weinberg, President, Denison University, former President/CEO, World Learning