ASU World Innovators (AWI) Program

The ASU WORLD INNOVATORS (AWI) PROGRAM comprises a comprehensive set of character-driven leadership development, education, and training programs focused on ASU students and related international mid-career professionals. 

ASU World Innovators (AWI) Study Abroad Program

AWI Study Abroad offers ASU student internships abroad, working with international ASU World Innovators on character-driven leadership projects focused on intermediate-level training.

(Program Length: 30-90 days)

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Eligibility Questions

Applicants should be in their mid-career, possess working proficiency in English with a high-degree of professional, academic and work achievements. Aspiring ASU Global Leaders must demonstrate commitment to highest level of ethical leadership, show decisive recommendations that substantiate their leadership qualities, and make a commitment to return to their home environment at the end of the program year.

Participants should have a decade or more of career experience. There is no specific age requirement, however, typical AGLs range from 30 to 45 years old.

Yes, applicants must be fluent in English. AGLs must be able to read and understand complex texts; give oral presentations in front of small and large audiences, build a professional network; and create personal relationships with colleagues, Institute staff and distinguished guests. Additionally, participation in the AGL program is contingent on approval of a J1 U.S. visa. English proficiency is a requirement for this visa.

The AGL Program does not accept full-time students or full-time academics. The AGL program is designed for leader-practitioners who seek to implement a high-impact vision for leadership in their home environments.

The Lab selects target countries and sectors that are specific to each program year. However, applicants from all countries and professional backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The key criteria for acceptance into the Program are leadership capacity and vision, your draft Leadership Action Plan, and fulfillment of all other eligibility requirements.

Nomination Questions

You do not need to be nominated in order to apply to the program. Applicants interested in applying to the program should proceed directly to the online application. Please do not nominate yourself. Multiple nominations do not increase your chances of being selected.

Nominators bring to the attention of the program to qualified candidates who are then invited to apply for participation. Nominators have the opportunity to highlight particular qualifications of an applicant.

Yes, we encourage our nominators to recommend as many qualified candidates as they can.

The deadline for nominations is typically the end of January each year. This allows applicants time to complete their application before the application deadline in mid-February. For information regarding the annual application deadline, please refer to our website for additional information. 

Application Questions

Applicants who have applied to a previous year’s program may submit a new application for the current application period. However, please note that our pool of candidates is highly competitive each year. If you choose to apply to our program for a second time, be sure to highlight any additional leadership accomplishments and impact you have had since your last application.

A Leadership Action Plan (LAP) is a detailed plan of character-driven action for implementation that creates change in your home environment that impacts the public, private or social sector. AGLs are expected to implement their LAP upon the conclusion of the initial program year.

The application period traditionally runs from November to mid-February. Applications are not accepted on a rolling basis and must be submitted during the set application period for consideration. For more on our deadline please see our website.

Final decisions will be sent to all applicants, both successful and unsuccessful, via email within 6-8 weeks following the close of the application window. The program cannot release information or talk about the status of your application on an individual basis before this time.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide feedback on individual applications due to the large number of applications. We receive a large number of applications for a limited number of slots every year. Not being selected is in no way a negative reflection on the accomplishments of our many highly skilled applicants.

Programmatic Questions

The program is nine months long and begins in early September and runs through late May of the following calendar year. Participants are expected to be in the United States for the entire program year and attend all four leadership development modules along with contributing at their placement organizations to gain the full AGL experience. 

AGLs are expected to be present and actively participating during all program modules in Washington, New York and Arizona. AGLs are expected to work at their placement organizations and to positively contribute to the organization’s overall mission and goals. AGLs must develop and refine their Leadership Action Plans for implementation after the program year. Finally, following the initial program year, AGLs are called on to be active members in the AGL Global Network and to inform the Institute on a bi-annual basis of the status of their LAPs and their impact in their home environments.

Placement organizations are individually selected by the AGL program staff for each ASU Global Leader. Placements align with each AGL’s professional background and Leadership Action Plan. Placements are designed to be a professional broadening experience to aid in each AGL’s leadership journey. They are not intended to be a simple extension of a participant’s career path. AGLs may not choose their placements.

Yes, the McCain Institute provides each AGL a stipend that covers all standard living costs for a year. Each participant receives the stipend amount monthly, covering expenses such as rent, utilities, food and any other regular costs. The stipend amount varies depending on the cost of living in the participant’s placement city. Added to the stipend is travel allowance that AGLs may use for professional travel in support of their LAP’s during the program year. The overall stipend is separate from the program related cost, such as travel to and from leadership training modules, module lodgings and per diem for the duration of program modules are covered by Arizona State University separately. Per visa regulations, Arizona State University also covers health insurance and workers comp.

Yes, you may bring immediate family members with you to the United States for the initial program year. We cover international travel for immediate family to and from your placement site in the United States at the beginning and end of the program. We do not provide an additional stipend for family members for travel to the training modules in the United States. Any other family expenses will be the responsibility of the AGL.

Placement Site Organization Questions

A placement organization is any organization, private or public, profit or non-profit, that hosts and contributes to the professional development of one of our ASU Global Leaders during the program year.

There are no costs associated with hosting an ASU Global Leader. Arizona State University covers all costs including administrative costs.

We ask placement organizations to provide ASU Global Leaders with a workspace and full integration into the organization’s team for roughly eight months. Our AGLs are not interns; they are mid-career professionals, and are placed in a host organization to contribute to its mission and to develop their Leadership Action Plans.

Our AGLs work with their placement organizations for roughly 10 months out of the year. Our program meets four times a year for leadership development training modules. Each module lasts approximately two weeks and occurs in September, January, March and May. We meet in Arizona, New York and in Washington. The time in between these modules is spent at the host organization.

Arizona State University expects each AGL to make significant contributions to his/her host organization as mid-career professionals with substantial work experience. We ask that AGLs be fully integrated into the organization and given responsibilities, as any other employee would be. The only added element for an AGL is that he/she needs time to work on a Leadership Action Plan. We estimate the time-sharing between host organization and LAP to be 60 to 40 percent, respectively.

Arizona State University provides overall program management and coordination. Beyond that, we see the relationship between the three parties involved is a partnership to develop the AGL’s professional and leadership capacity and empower him or her to make a sustainable impact in his or her community.

If you are interested in hosting an ASU Global Leader in your organization please use the contact form.

Donor Question

We welcome new sponsors of our program and are very grateful for the support of our current donors. Please contact Kathy Cook to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

AWI Leadership Education


Basic AWI Leadership Introduction invites first generation ASU students to take part in the AWI program’s international leadership education curriculum to enhance their global literacy and prepare interested students for international careers.

(Program Length: 10 hours)


AWI Plus provides a scalable character-driven leadership experience combined with individual professional training for U.S. and international LDNS Lab clients seeking to take the next steps in their leadership journeys.

(Program Length: 1-2 weeks)


AWI Advanced Leadership Development, in partnership with the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, combines attaining a Masters’ Degree in Legal Studies for ASU World Innovators with an emphasis on character-driven leadership development followed by implementation of an AWI Impact Plan.

(Program Length: one year)

Meet the ASU World Innovators

ASU World Innovators

Mohammed Al Tarawnh Headshot

Women and Youth

Mohammed Al Tarawnh, a member of the 2015 cohort, is the chairman and general manager of Blue Umbrella, a Jordanian NGO that focuses on community training and development. During program year, Al Tarawneh was placed at the National Youth Leadership Council. His LAP seeks to strengthen local communities and develop character-driven Jordanian youth. Al Tarawneh has achieved substantial success…

Zaheer Abbas Maseed

Chairperson at HEELA Institute for Research and Development

Zaheer Abbas Maseed, a devoted peace and gender activist, with over 10+ years of experience in Development Sector wields art and training as a weapon against conflict and violent extremism in Pakistan's volatile North West. Over a decade, he's empowered hundreds of artists, activists, and officials through HEELA Institute, crafting powerful counter-narratives. His mission: build resilient…

Esther Akafia Headshot


Esther Akafia is an attorney and an experienced international development professional with over 20 years of experience working and leading teams globally. She is the founder and executive director of the Pioneers International Academy, an institute focused on providing quality and affordable elementary education in areas of need. Akafia seeks to implement Pioneers International Academy across…

Giorgi Akhmeteli Headshot

Human Rights

Giorgi Akhmeteli, who is wheel-chaired due to a spinal trauma, is the founder and chairman of the Georgian NGO, Accessible Environment for Everyone, an organization that advocates the interests of persons with disabilities. He seeks to improve treatment, advance quality of life and opportunities for the disabled in Georgia. In the U.S., he examined relevant legislative, regulatory and…

Abdalaziz Alhamza headshot


Alhamza is an award-winning Syrian journalist and co-founder and spokesperson of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a non-partisan, independent organization that exposes the atrocities committed by ISIS and the Bashar Al-Assad regime in Syria. Prior to this position, Alhamza organized non-violent protests and demonstrations against the Syrian regime. After escaping to Turkey in 2014, he used…

Bashar Sorri


Bashar Sorri is a lawyer and youth activist dedicated to encouraging the youth to experience and understand differences between cultures and customs. He engages students in a democratic environment that fosters diversity, awareness and commitment to justice. Sorri seeks to develop a national action plan focused on the development, both socially and economically, of the youth, and facilitate…

Ezzeddine Ben Rhima Headshot

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Ezzeddine Ben Rhima is an e-marketing and communications professional, and co-founder of AM I ODD. AM I ODD is a mentorship platform designed to share leadership thoughts, entrepreneurship practices, and innovation stories with Tunisian youth to promote innovation and “start-up” culture in Tunisia. Convinced that the digital economy is the best way for nations to thrive, Ben Rhima Co-initiated…

Dr. Dael Dervishi

Head of International Relations and Projects Office
Head of Public Law Department at Law Faculty Luarasi University

Dr. Dael Dervishi is a legal professional and educator with extensive experience in government and private sectors. He holds a Ph.D. in Law from Tirana University, Albania, and an LLM in Law from Parma University, Italy.

Sokayna El Allam

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

El Allam is an ecosystem builder in the Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Community Development space from Morocco. Known for trustworthiness and diplomacy as a community builder, she has a proven track record of engaging national and international stakeholders to lead successful initiatives.

El Allam seeks to bridge the gap between business communities by building a cross-…

Eman Sayed ELabd

Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Economist, Ministry of Finance Egypt

       Ms. Elabd serves as an Economist in the office of the Minister of Finance. She has always planned to work in public service because she has a duty to use the privilege of her birth and her skills to help other people. This commitment crystallized into a career path when she joined the technical office of the Minister of Finance in November 2005. During this…

Maryam Faghih Imani Headshot

Human Rights

Faghih Imani is the founder and president of the Center for Cultural Diplomacy and Development, a non-profit, non-partisan, public benefit organization that enables individuals to learn about the culture and society of several Middle Eastern nations. Faghih Imani serves as the host of a weekly London television show where she discusses Iranian culture, society and politics.  She believes…

Ljubomir Filipović

Government Reform

Ljubomir Filipović is a Montenegrin political scientist focused on foreign influence and information integrity. He holds an MSc. degree in international relations. He works as a consultant and analyst for different organizations. He worked for the projects of the Atlantic Council of Montenegro, UNDP, the US State Department, the City and County of Denver, and others. He provided consulting and…

Selamawit Girmay Birhane

Regional Director, Human Rights Monitoring and Investigation Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
Youth/Government Reform

I am a graduate of the prestigious Addis Ababa University Law Faculty with more than 20 years of experience as a legal researcher, an assistant judge, a project head/coordinator, an appellate judge, a senior adviser on children Rights and Regional Director for Human Rights Monitoring and Investigation. I have done a post-graduate training on leadership having been selected as the first-ever…

Edlira Gjoni Headshot

Government Reform

Edlira Gjoni is a communications professional and political activist in Albania. She is actively involved internationally as a communications expert, known for her advocacy for women’s rights and her respected presence in the media. In addition, Gjoni has conducted training and research in both communication and political participation in her country. As a political activist, Gjoni is the co-…

Talitha Goldmann-Kefalas

Transformation Expert (W4G)
German Ministry of the Finances
International Leadership Coach/ Self-employed

Talitha Goldmann-Kefalas follows her  mission to “reveal the gold” in others. In doing so, she currently serves the German Federal Ministry of Finances as Transformation Expert, training and implementing innovative ways of working and fostering nationwide collaboration.

With her professional background in “Social Work as Human Rights Profession (M.A.)”, she led an educational…


United States
Chief of Staff/Senior Advisor
Human Trafficking
Administration for Native Americans
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Rosie Gomez has dedicated nearly 20 years to public service in the United States federal government. She has served in senior leadership roles in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spanning across subject areas such as human trafficking prevention, child welfare, early childhood development, and Tribal affairs. Currently, Ms. Gomez serves as the Chief of Staff/Senior…

Mohammad H. Al-Tarawneh

International Lawyer, Trainer, and Consultant for International Corporations and INGOs
Founder of Al-Tarawneh Law Firm and Blue Umbrella

Mohammad Altarawneh is a trailblazer in the international legal arena—a seasoned Lawyer, Trainer, and Consultant passionately committed to driving transformative change for international non-profit organizations (INGOs). His journey is marked by visionary leadership and a commitment to impactful initiatives, reflected in the founding of Al-Tarawneh International Law Firm and the inception of…

Leon Hernandez Headshot


Leon Hernández is a communications professional in Venezuela. His career began in editing and broadcast journalism in RCTV, a major independent news network. In 2014, Hernández joined Universidad Central de Venezuela as a professor of broadcast journalism. Additionally, he managed the Democratic Unity political coalition press team. He and his team provided full coverage of the 2015…

Zaw Tu Hkawng Headshot

Human Rights
Founder and Program Manager, Through the Eyes of Agony Art Program for Myanmar’s Displaced Children, Myanmar

Zaw Tu Hkawng is an anti-military coup activist from Myanmar and the founder of the "Through the Eyes of Agony Art Program." This initiative works to support Myanmar’s internally displaced children with the support of the New Zealand Embassy in Myanmar, UnionAID from New Zealand, and generous individual donors. Previously, Zaw worked as a project coordinator for BBC Media Action Myanmar,…

Vimal Kumar

Human Rights

Vimal Kumar is the founder of Movement for Scavenger Community (MSC), an organization committed to the eradication of manual scavenging in India and bringing education and awareness to the existing scavenger community. As one of the rare members of the scavenger community who was able to obtain higher education, Kumar provides the unique perspective needed to provide insight on the issues…

Batu Kutelia Headshot


Ambassador Batu Kutelia is a former Georgian Ambassador to the United States and Deputy Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council. Ambassador Kutelia seeks to build a political movement to promote democratic values and political professionalism in Georgia.

Ximena Lainfiesta

Human Rights

Lainfiesta is a journalist and civil society activist specialized in neuroscience and cultural and creative industries. She currently works as a multimedia journalist where she focuses on fostering debate, critical thinking, and civic engagement.

She works to transform the economy and identity in Guatemala through the conservation of Mayan Bees and Mayan traditions as an economic model…

Siham Mamand Headshot

KRD, Iraq

Siham Mamand works in the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs. She is passionate about education for girls and women, especially in rural areas. Her ultimate goal is to motivate and empower women to assume leadership positions in the public and private sector in Kurdistan and to break cultural norms that assign lesser roles to women in her society.

Dr. Erkaiym Mambetalieva

Kyrgyz Republic
Government Reform
Founder & CEO, Central Asian Research Institute on Corruption and Money Laundering
Docent at the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic

Dr. Erkaiym Mambetalieva is a distinguished leader in the field of anti-corruption, currently serving as the Founder and CEO of the Central Asian Research Institute on Corruption and Money Laundering. Her commitment to combating corruption is evident in her illustrious career and the impactful initiatives she has spearheaded.

Sahana Mishra Headshot

Human Rights

Sahana Mishra is a civil society activist from India. During her time in the United States, she worked with Lugar Strategies to further her understand of how private corporations participate in the promotion of women and girl’s leadership development. Since returning to India in September 2016, she has provided leadership and economic empowerment trainings to approximately 4,000 women. Her…

Nathalie Mondesir Headshot


Mondésir is an activist from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Her professional focus is on gender equality, specifically assisting women to achieve equal access to leadership opportunities in the Haitian public sector. Mondésir aims to empower women to run for office and participate in political decisionmaking, as well as work to ensure that the Haitian Constitutional mandate of a 30% quota for women…

Diego Mora Bello

Chief Communications Analyst
United Nations Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Peace in Colombia

Diego Mora Bello is responsible for the communications area of the United Nations Multi-Donor Fund for Peace in Colombia, a tripartite mechanism between the National Government, United Nations and International Cooperation, with the participation of Civil Society to support the implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement.

Aliz Pocsuvalszki

Educator, Community Organizer

Aliz Pocsuvalszki currently serves at the National Democratic Institute in Hungary, where she works to support Roma community leaders, Roma women and youth.

Jerlie Requerme Headshot

Government Reform

Jerlie Requerme is a judge with more than 16 years of experience working in the Filipino legal community. She has dedicated over two decades to advocacy work spanning across sectors such as environmental, education, peace and more. Judge Requerme seeks to secure justice through technology by the digitization of records in order to preserve the integrity of court records and the entire judicial…

Gantuya Sainkhuu

Author and Executive Director of SIS

Promoting activism through women’s empowerment, Gantuya is the Executive Director and Co-founder of Sainkhuu Iveel San, which is named after her father, who was one of the active initiators and promoters of democracy in Mongolia in 1990. Today, through her organisation, Gantuya is promoting activism and women’s leadership by providing leadership training to women at the grassroots level in…

Narges Shahi

Research and Development Partner Women Empowerment Advocate
Youth Trainer and Educationist

Narges Shahi currently serves as a senior research and development partner of international trading and commerce companies proposing creative solutions in regard of sustainable economy, leadership and development. She provides leadership and business consultation in entering new markets and the registration and development of new businesses in emerging markets of Europe, Africa and Asia.

Kateryna Smagliy Headshot

Government Reform

Since 2022, Kateryna Smagliy has served at the Embassy of Ukraine in the USA, where she covers a broad portfolio of political and public diplomacy issues. She joined the Political Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in 2021 and holds the diplomatic rank of a Counselor. She is a former Director of the Kennan Institute Kyiv Office, a Kyiv-based consultant of the European…

Mira Y. Dumbuya

Sierra Leone
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP)
Police Planning Officer Police Division, United Nations, New York.
Founder, Next Generation Reformers (NGR), Sierra Leone.

Mira Dumbuya (Nee Koroma) has 17 years+ of policing experience and has contributed immensely to the development of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP). She served in various capacities including Head of Operational Policy and Planning Department (OPPD), Local Unit Commander of Eastend Police Division, Head Family Support Unit and Head Change Management.