Advancing Leaders Fellowship

World Learning alumni are inspiring, passionate and innovative individuals committed to creating positive change in the world. Together they form a community of global leaders. To engage alumni and support their growth as thought leaders, World Learning has created the Advancing Leaders Fellowship program.  

The Advancing Leaders Fellowship program recognizes the ideas, talent, and vision of World Learning alumni by providing comprehensive training in social innovation, project management and leadership; and by supporting selected high-achieving fellows with grants and a network of mentors and peers so that fellows can implement an original social innovation project in their home communities. Alumni of all World Learning programs, including SIT Graduate Institute, SIT Study Abroad, and The Experiment in International Living are eligible to apply.

In 2016, 51 alumni were selected to participate in a two-month online training course in project design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and proposal writing. After successful completion of the course, five fellows will be selected to receive funding for their projects and invited to an award ceremony in November in New York City, where they will be paired with mentors who will provide guidance on designing sustainable social innovation programs.

Meet World Learning's 2015 Advancing Leaders Fellows

  • Asma Abunaib (SIT CONTACT Program and SIT Graduate Institute), “Empowering Vulnerable Women in Sudan”
  • Omkolthoum Abdel Mogheith (International Visitor Leadership Program), “Reaching You”
  • Michelet Guerrier (SIT TESOL Certificate), “Improving Teaching with Training and ICT”
  • Charity Kabondo (Malawi Scholarship Program), “Engaging Mentor Mothers for an HIV-Free Generation”
  • Frank Michael Nunez (SIT TESOL Certificate), “Youth Support Network”
  • Ping Ann Oung (Global Undergraduate Exchange Program), “Media & Ethics”
  • Alexis Ramirez (Experiment in International Living), “Majestic Movers”

Advancing Leaders Fellows slideshow

For more information regarding the Advancing Leaders Fellowship, please contact Eric Christensen at

2015 Advancing Leaders Fellows Biographies

Click on the sections below to read more about the fellows and their projects.

Asma AbunaibFrom Khartoum, Sudan, Asma is a community development strategist and analyst with more than ten years of experience in monitoring and evaluation, policy advocacy, conflict transformation, peace-building, community coalition building, and project management. Past clients have included UN-OCHA, BBCwst, Albany Associates, African Union Mission, Embassy of the Netherlands in Sudan, Afya Sudan Organization, and UNDP Disarmament. Asma is currently an associate trainer with RedR UK. She has a master's degree in Intercultural Service Leadership and Management from the SIT Graduate Institute and a bachelor's degree in Engineering Technology from Gezira University.

The goal of Empowering Vulnerable Women in Sudan is to empower women with disabilities and female owners of small businesses in Nyala and Khartoum by providing training on human rights education and advocacy. The training sessions will teach women how to advocate for their rights and connect them to local human rights lawyers to assist them when they are victims of oppression or when they are punished for their female dress/appearance.

Omkolthoum Abdel MogheithOmkolthoum has over ten years of experience in the governmental healthcare sector in Cairo, Egypt. She has a master’s degree in public policy from the American University in Cairo, a master's degree in business administration from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transportation, and a bachelor's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Ain Shams University. While working as a senior officer in the Technical Office for the Minister of Health and Population in Egypt, she helped improve the health reform process within the healthcare sector in Egypt. Through these experiences, she developed diverse experience in health economics, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, and health diplomacy. Omkolthoum’s work focuses on the topics of rights for vulnerable groups and health policy, and she has a strong passion for women’s empowerment.

The goal of Reaching You is to use technology to develop the skills and performance of healthcare medical providers in underserved areas in Egypt, and to improve the quality of healthcare services provided to the residents of Faiyum, Egypt. This model is distinguished from other telemedicine as it intends to create workforce multiplication, professional development, and maximizes the sharing of knowledge instead of merely providing a direct service. The project will adopt the model of the University of New Mexico’s ECHO Project.

Michelet GuerrierMichelet was one of the fortunate few to attend school in his community of Carrefour, Haiti. After high school, he won a seat at the only public teacher college in the country. Upon completion of his studies there, Michelet started teaching secondary school. Since then, he has never stopped looking for additional learning opportunities to improve his professional skills so that he can become more effective at helping people in his community learn and improve their life skills. Michelet sees himself as a community agent engaged in an endless process to improve life conditions for his brothers and sisters of Haiti. 

Improving Teaching with Training and ICT addresses an education-related problem in a rural community of Haiti: Schools in La Chapelle, as in many other communities in the country, are suffering from a lack of access to educational resources and teachers’ qualification. This situation results in a poor-quality education for students. The project addresses the problem by providing primary teachers and school administrators with a pedagogical in-service training on information and communication technology (ICT) to give them access to resources for professional development and classroom practice. This project will lay the foundation for a great partnership between the participating schools and teachers in the community of La Chapelle so they can work together to improve the quality of education and enhance learning for students in the community as a whole. 

Charity KabondoCharity is a Registered Nurse and Midwife from Lilongwe, Malawi with a master's degree in public health from the University of Ghana, specializing in population, family and reproductive health. Charity has worked in the field of sexual reproductive health for 19 years as a service provider for SRH services, and a researcher and project coordinator at government hospitals, civil society organizations and research institutions. Presently, she works as a Program Coordinator for HIV Prevention, Treatment, Care and Psychosocial Support at the National Association for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi (NAPHAM).

Engaging Mentor Mothers for a HIV-Free Generation will be implemented at Tilimbike Support Group in Dedza District, Malawi from November 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016 with funding from World Learning and NAPHAM. The goal of the project is to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the district and in Malawi by strengthening the capacity of Tilimbike Support Group with resources, training and counseling services. The project will utilize “mentor mothers” from within the community who are HIV-positive who will work as volunteers to counsel fellow HIV-positive pregnant and lactating women and their spouses on family planning and the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) .

Frank Michael NunezFrank is one of the coordinators at ICDA, a prestigious English school in Capotillo, Dominican Republic. Growing up in Capotillo wasn't easy, and as Frank grew up, he saw many of his friends abandon school to become involved in criminal activities. It was heartbreaking to Frank to see so many talented kids end up in jail or hurt. Economically or socially speaking, Frank was not that different from them, but his parents played a central role in keeping him away from that lifestyle. Eventually Frank became an English teacher. Participating in the Advancing Leaders Fellowship Program allowed him to put his experiences in perspective and devise more efficient strategies to solve problems in his community.

Youth Support Network seeks to prevent juvenile crime among teenagers in vulnerable areas by training and educating parents on how to improve their parenting skills. Through a series of workshops and other activities, participants will learn how to manage situations that affect teenagers who grow up in dangerous neighborhoods. The project also includes English classes as incentives for parents to attend the workshops, and the establishment of Youth Support Units, which will serve as forums for participants to connect and help each other. These Youth Support Units will be composed of parents, school teachers, school staff, and community leaders, all cooperating with each other in order to improve the conditions of teenagers in the community. The project will initially directly benefit 45 parents and roughly 158 children in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; later it will be expanded to include more neighborhoods and communities throughout the country. Frank and his team know that they will have some challenges, but they believe that the future is bright for this community, especially for its youth.

Ping Ann OungPing Ann is currently a senior at the Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He is also a reporter and documentary film producer for National Television of Cambodia. Earlier this year, Ping Ann was selected as one of the Global UGRAD students to study at California State University in Monterey Bay, where he took courses in media development, video production and communication.

Media & Ethics is a media literacy program that uses documentary films and educational workshops to raise awareness and minimize the potential harm caused by unethical and manipulative content shown on television and social media. Topics such as online bullying, body image, gender inequality, and violence against women are some of the issues that will be covered in this project. The five documentary films created through this project will be broadcast on social media websites and National Television of Cambodia. After the five documentary films are produced with the consultation of senior journalists, five workshops featuring these films will be conducted in the provinces of Pursat, Battambong, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. These workshops will reach 300 to 500 high school and university students.

Alex RamirezAlexis is a hip-hop dance teacher who currently lives in Seattle, Washington. She graduated from Macalester College in Minnesota with a major in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in dance. After graduating, she worked for the Boys and Girls Outdoor Leadership Development program as an Americorps volunteer, an experience that strengthened her passion for youth leadership and social justice. Currently, she is working as an instructor at the Salsa N Seattle dance studio and is the leader of Drop Squad, a hip-hop dance crew open to anyone who has a passion for dancing. Alexis is an avid believer in using art as a transformative tool to create change in the world.

Majestic Movers is an after school program that will use hip-hop culture in a positive manner by teaching middle school girls in Seattle about leadership, empowerment and social justice through a Hip Hop dance and performance curriculum. Participants will learn from prominent dancers in the community and experts in the field of social justice, take field trips to community dance events, and work towards creating their own performance at the end of the semester. The hope is that after completing Majestic Movers, participants will be prepared to take on leadership positions, increasing the number of women and people of color representing the Seattle community.

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