• An independent and non-partisan executive programme for 24 mid-career political, business and civic leaders working in Northern Ireland.
  • Formulated in response to the legacy of the Troubles and the complexity that has arisen in the world over the past few years with globalisation, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • An opportunity to reimagine complex political and civic leaderships in Northern Ireland.


The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement provided and continues to provide a general template for the political progress in Northern Ireland. However, the legacy of the Troubles remains an issue. Since its establishment in 1998, the Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended on five occasions. Governance arrangements in Northern Ireland continue to be fragile.

Globalisation, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the UK exit from the EU simultaneously introduce additional complexities that require non-traditional skills for political leaders and communities to navigate. The complex decision-making skills that political leaders and communities need to prevent higher levels of distrust, fear, and conflict are more critical than ever.

There is an opportunity to reimagine complex political and civic leadership in Northern Ireland through innovation and capacity building. Here comes in the Fellowship Programme.

The Fellowship is an independent and non-partisan executive programme for 24 mid-career political and civic leaders working in Northern Ireland. It aims to strengthen democracy and to ensure that the current and future cadres of political leaders in Northern Ireland are best placed to lead into the next decade and navigate through complexity.

The Fellowship Programme is delivered by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (CDPB) working with key stakeholders, policy makers and facilitators from leading academic institutions including the University of Oxford with support from its Advisory Board.

Fellowship 2022-2023 Details

  • 24 public leaders: party political, business, public sector and civic society
  • Duration: 7 months (September – March)

  • Residential session in Oxford and Dublin:
    13 – 16 September 2022 (Oxford)
    25 – 27 January 2023 (Dublin)
  • Symposium day in Belfast
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Graduation: 23rd March 2023
  • Registration fee: £750 + travel cost (Oxford and Dublin)
  • Scholarships and financial support available on request by application
  • Supported by: the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Allstate NI, Devenish, FinTrU, Fujitsu NI and Ulster Carpets.

Programme Outcomes

  • Gain knowledge and skills from leading academics and practitioners from leading academics and practitioners to increase your confidence and ability to address political, economic and social challenges facing NI

  • Improve the ability to deliver outcomes that matter to the people you serve, produce better outcomes, advance the public interest and build a culture of integrity in your organisation and sector

  • Communicate effectively within your own organisation and across different sectors
  • Develop relationships and join the network of emerging leaders across party political, business and civic society sectors
  • Enhance your leadership capability and performance at an individual and collective level by engaging in executive coaching and mentoring throughout the programme

Upcoming Fellowship 2022 – 2023 Highlights

The Oxford Experience

Participants will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world as well as the top-ranked university in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings). Here in the ‘city of dreaming spires’, they will enter an oasis of learning, where the world’s greatest leaders and thinkers have studied for over 900 years and where research breakthroughs continue to be made every week.

The Dublin Experience

In Dublin, the UNESCO City of Literature, home to many acclaimed literary pioneers, participants will have the opportunity to work with pioneers in their own fields of politics, business and field of Policy Development, International Relations and Diplomacy. This session will be developed in partnership with the Irish Association and colleagues from the Departament of Foreign Affairs.