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Maxwell School's Transnational NGO Initiative to host leadership institute

September 12, 2011

Jill Leonhardt
(315) 443-5492

Leaders from a range of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will converge at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University Sept. 14-20 to attend the inaugural Transnational NGO Leadership Institute 2011, which will prepare participants to take the next step in their organizational leadership roles. Hosted by the Maxwell School’s Moynihan Institute, the intensive and interdisciplinary weeklong program will provide participants with the skills necessary to make the leap to top leadership positions in transnational NGOs (TNGOs).

The TNGO Leadership Institute caters to those working at the second tier of leadership within NGOs: assistant secretaries general, vice presidents, senior directors and similar positions. The participants—12 women and four men—represent the United States as well as Chile, Egypt, South Sudan, Ukraine and other countries. The NGO sectors cover the environment, international development, human rights and more, with participants representing organizations such as Greenpeace, NAS Association for Persons with Disabilities, ActionAid and Humanas.

The program will address topics that include understanding the broader landscape of TNGO actors and issues; networking and collaborative governance; and strategic resource mobilization, allocation and management. At the leadership institute, participants will learn about their own individual leadership styles and how to apply leadership to workplace and peer interactions.

The institute will feature contributors from within the Maxwell School, including faculty with expertise in the NGO field, as well as NGO practitioners who have made the transition to top leadership positions. Maxwell alumna Susan Hayes of ReSurge International, for instance, will participate in three of the institute’s events.

“Our whole initiative, all our work, not just the Institute, is an example of Scholarship in Action,” says Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, the director for Education and Practitioner Engagement at the Transnational NGO Initiative. “Our research and faculty expertise, we’re putting it in front of NGO practitioners, the action people.”

During the leadership institute, the Transnational NGO Initiative will conduct video interviews with several participants and one practitioner. The interviews will cover topics such as working for NGOs, preparing to lead, and transitioning to top leadership positions. The videos will be posted online at

The Transnational NGO Initiative has received funding to support several participants at the leadership institute. The Ford Foundation is providing four scholarships, the Moynihan Institute one and a half scholarships and an anonymous Maxwell alum half a scholarship. Each scholarship covers the $2,500 training fee as well as room, board and transportation.

Bruno-van Vijfeijken hopes to continue the leadership institute with one or two sessions each year, with up to 30 participants per session. Future subjects could include organizational change processes within TNGOs.

For more information about the Transnational NGO Leadership Institute, visit

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