World Learning to Hold Advancing Leaders Fellowship Pitch Competition in New York


CONTACT: Kathryn Schoenberger in Washington DC, 202 464-6979

Washington, DC (March 21, 2014)

Ten finalists for the next round of the Advancing Leaders Fellowship will participate in a pitch competition on April 3, 2014 in New York City, after which a panel of judges will announce this year’s five fellowship recipients. 

“This year’s finalists represent the top talent in the world,” said Donald Steinberg, president and CEO of World Learning. “They are the leaders of today and tomorrow who will address the educational and human development work that will improve lives everywhere.”

The Advancing Leaders Fellowship recognizes the ideas, talent, and vision of World Learning alumni by supporting fellows with an award of $10,000, comprehensive training in social innovation and leadership and a support network of mentors and peers so that they can implement an original social innovation project. Alumni of all World Learning programs are eligible to apply.

The fellowship lasts nine months. The first three months are dedicated to leadership development and training in social innovation, and during the last six months fellows implement their projects. Fellows can be located anywhere in the world and their projects address a variety of social issues.

The finalists will pitch their project proposals to a panel of 12 judges, which is comprised of World Learning trustees, alumni and friends who are leaders in fields including social change, international development and corporate social responsibility. The judges will name the fellowship winners at a reception following the pitch competition.

This year’s ten finalists:

Marko Bankovic has been working in career guidance in Serbia since 2007. His proposed Career Ninja project aims to help youth acquire career-related skills through interactive games.

Amira Ali Bouaouina is an Algerian undergraduate student expecting to graduate from the Ouargla University English Language and Literature Department in summer 2014. She plans to teach Arabic, French and mathematics to Malian refugees in Algeria.

Thelma Boamah has designed and implemented human development programs at nonprofits and educational institutions in the United States and Ghana. She is passionate about educational and youth development across Africa and wants to provide internship opportunities for Ghanaian high school students.

Choon Sian Choo is a certified professional trainer and the co-founder of Young Money Master — a fun and pragmatic financial education program for young people ages 16–24. He is dedicated to nurturing financially smart youth in Malaysia.

Elena Mercedes Haro Lima is a former member of Guatemala’s national fencing team and a general sports enthusiast. She seeks to create awareness of the importance of applying sports values toward a formal education and empower athletes to reach their full potentials.

Alicia Moore is a U.S. combat veteran and the assistant farm manager at Blue Yonder Organic Farm in North Salem, Ind. She plans to teach U.S. military veterans the basics of agriculture and how farming can heal the trauma of war.

Gul Khan Naseer has more than 10 years of experience working with nongovernmental organizations and has dedicated himself to building a peaceful, tolerant, educated and developed society in Pakistan. He intends to counter extremism in Pakistan through human rights education for young people.

Ntaryike Divine, Jr. is a journalist with nearly 15 years of experience. He aims to popularize science reporting in his native Cameroon to reshape mindsets and promote innovation, development and economic growth in Africa.

Lawrence Shapiro is a person with a disability and a Vietnam specialist committed to social innovation. He aims to empower women with disabilities to create sustainable economic opportunities in rural Vietnam.

Vuk Stojkovic returned to Serbia after studying abroad determined to make a difference in his community. He intends to use art camps to give disadvantaged children the opportunity to develop the social skills they need to achieve and thrive in the real world.

The Advancing Leaders Fellowship Pitch Competition and Reception is also one in a series of events celebrating the School for International Training’s 50th anniversary. Founded in 1964 by Gordon Boyce and Jack Wallace, SIT has transformed the lives of thousands of students through its undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs. As SIT Graduate Institute alumni Boamah, Moore and Shapiro are part of this 50-year-old tradition of passionate and talented individuals contending with the complexities of critical global issues and contributing to meaningful change throughout the world. An anniversary celebration for alumni, students, staff and faculty will take place in August 8–10, 2014 at SIT’s Brattleboro, Vt., campus.