We live in an age of increased interconnectedness, rapid change and widespread legitimacy deficits. Multilateralism has grown evermore demanding while under increasing strain. 

In these challenging circumstances, which underscore the questions for which the United Nations was founded, UN leaders and their partners operating at the international level are expected to provide aspirational and principled guidance as well as practical solutions to the complex challenges the world is facing, often in inclement conditions. Therefore, it appears essential to our collective success to develop a critical mass of change agents with a profound understanding of what 21st century international leadership looks like.

Stemming from the belief that the best leaders are those who keep growing, the UN Leaders Programme is designed to inspire and guide its participants at the director level in exploring old and new paradigms of leadership in the context of innovation, transformation, collaboration and resilience. 

As a participant in this multidisciplinary learning experience you will: be inspired by a stellar faculty composed of renowned academics and practitioners; reflect on strong and successful leadership approaches and their application in your professional context; and forge deeper connections with colleagues from across the international and UN system through peer exchange and collegial support.

Now entering its twelfth year, the UN Leaders Programme has welcomed hundreds of senior UN officials from around the globe and over 200 world-renowned speakers from different areas to create a more effective and unified leadership culture in the UN system. It is also the official Leadership Development Programme (LDP) of the UN Secretariat.



Upon completion of the programme you will be able to:

  1. Relate old and new paradigms of leadership to your individual and collective frame of reference
  2. Analyze and respond to challenges, trends and opportunities with re-energized leadership insights
  3. Transfer strong and successful leadership, transformation, collaboration and innovation approaches to your organization and sphere of influence
  4. Benefit from deeper connections with colleagues and newly forged strategic synergies

Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

The UN Leaders Programme, which is considered a benchmark for its unique, varied and stimulating methodology, will offer you the opportunity to engage in a four-day face-to-face dynamic and deep learning experience that harmoniously blends:

  • Carefully curated sessions to explore various dimensions of leadership through the diverse lenses of academia, practice and unconventional disciplines such as music, theatre, visual arts and storytelling
  • Individual and group reflections to internalize the learning
  • Peer discussion and explorations on current issues to translate knowledge in concrete application 
  • Team-building activity and relevant site visits to maximize the creation of strategic synergies among and beyond the group of participants
  • Follow-up individual coaching to accompany participants in transferring the experience in their individual contexts 

The programme requires the undivided engagement of participants for four full working days. Four hours of individual follow-up coaching are included in the programme. 

Tailored learning resources and yearly half-a-day workshops are available for alumni of the programme. 

Course Contents

Course Contents: 

The topics explored by the programme are tailored for each edition depending on its location, the context of the host country/region and the strategic priorities at the international level. These may include: 

  • Leadership Reflections by Senior UN Leaders; 
  • Power, Authority, and the Dynamics of Relational Authenticity;
  •  Adaptive Leadership; 
  • Change and Innovation in the UN; 
  • Leadership Resilience; 
  • Global and Regional Challenges, Trends and Opportunities and the UN’s Role;
  • Co-creation and Collaboration;
  • Innovation.

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

The programme is designed for senior UN staff at the D1 – D2 levels and other senior staff operating in relevant fields of international cooperation.

You can be enrolled in the programme by open enrolment or nomination. (Please note that some UN organizations follow an internal nomination process to identify candidates for the programme).

Cost of participation

Cost of participation: 

The programme fee of $7,000 includes tuition, training materials, site excursions, team-building activities, luncheons, optional individual coaching and follow-up alumni resources. 

Participants or their sponsoring organizations are expected to cover all travel and accommodation costs related to their attendance in the course.

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