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)

Learn more

Eligibility Questions

What are the eligibility requirements?

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.

What is considered mid-career? Is there a specific age requirement?

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.

Do I have to be fluent in English?

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.

Does the program accept students or academics?

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.

Is the Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab looking for individuals with a specific professional background or from a specific country?

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

Do I need to be nominated or can I apply?

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.

What is the role of a nominator?

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.

As a nominator can I nominate more than one person?

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

What is the deadline for nominations?

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

If I have previously applied to the AGL Global Leaders program, may I apply again?

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.

What is a Leadership Action Plan?

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.

What is the application deadline?

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.

When will I learn of the final decision on my application?

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.

If I am not selected, may I solicit feedback on my application?

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

How long is the program? What are the start and end dates?

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. 

What are the expectations of an AGL for the program year?

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.

How is my professional placement chosen?

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.

Will I receive a stipend?

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.

May I bring my family?

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

What is a placement organization?

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.

What costs are associated with hosting an ASU Global Leader?

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

What is expected of a placement organization?

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.

How long will AGLs be with my organization?

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.

What contributions should we expect AGLs to make to our 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.

What is the relationship between the AGL, placement organization and Arizona State University?

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.

How do I become a placement organization?

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

Donor Question

How can I support the ASU Global Leaders Program?

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 Headshot


Zaheer Abbas is a civil society activist who has gained new insights through his work on inner-city violence in the US for his project in Pakistan’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas that engages men and boys on their perceptions of masculine behavior. Abbas advocates self-awareness and critical thinking and training on nonviolent, gender sensitive male role models.

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…

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 Headshot

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Eman Sayed Elabd is an economist in the office of the Egyptian Minister of Finance. She studies and analyzes various economic and development issues in order to provide advice on polices, and legislation related to such issues. Ms. Elabd believes that it is her duty as a human being to help all people who are living a deprived difficult life all over the world and provide them with a more…

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 Filipovic Headshot

Government Reform

Ljubomir Filipović is an activist and publicist from Montenegro. He has served his community in a number of political and public positions including Deputy and Acting Mayor of Budva and Political Advisor to the Social-Democratic Party of Montenegro in the National Parliament. Filipović founded “Budva 2020,” a civic foundation that promotes transparent, sustainable, and socially-inclusive local…

Selamawit Girmay Birhane Headshot

Youth/Government Reform

Selamawit Girmay Birhane is a federal high court appellate judge and case flow management coordinator in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Prior to assuming this position, she served as the head of the Child Justice Project and the National Court Reform Program under the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia.

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


Goldmann-Kefalas has worked as a project manager for refugee labor market integration with the family support focused FROEBEL group in Berlin. She previously volunteered in refugee camps in Greece and takes part in the Turkey Europe Future fellowship by Mercator to find political solutions to refugee issues in Europe. Goldmann-Kefalas aims to address the issues surrounding refugee migration in…

Rosie Gomez Headshot

United States
Human Trafficking

Rosie Gomez is a senior policy advisor on Trafficking Prevention in the Administration on Children, Youth and Families in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. She has over 10 years of experience in the field of child welfare serving as a child protection specialist prior to joining the Department of Health and Human Services. She aligns multiple anti-trafficking…

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

Zaw Tu Hkawng is a project coordinator for BBC Media Action in Myanmar, where he produces the nationally-broadcasted radio drama, “The Tea Cup Diaries,” which supports peace and social inclusion across Myanmar, particularly among its varied ethnic and religious communities. Additionally, Zaw has a history as a humanitarian aid worker, assisting Myanmar refugees, Malaysia and rehabilitating…

Placeholder image

Human Rights
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.

Erkaiym Mambetalieva Headshot

Government Reform

Dr. Erkaiym Mambetalieva is an anti-corruption specialist and founding director of the Anticorruption Center under the Bishkek Mayor’s Office on Corruption Prevention.  Dr. Mambetalieva received her Ph.D. from the High Attestation Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic and established her credibility in the field of anti-corruption through her work at the National Agency of the Kyrgyz Republic…

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…

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 is a social activist, author, and co-founder of Sainkhuu Iveel San (SIS), a non-profit organization that promotes education to reduce poverty in Mongolia. She seeks to create more inclusive governance in Mongolia by empowering women at the grassroots level. Since returning to Mongolia in August of 2018, Sainkhuu has empowered 150 local women through training them in leadership…

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…