Diploma in Development Leadership

July 17 - December 2, 2017

The call for applications for the 2017 program is now closed. Check back in May for our 2018 offerings.

Our flagship 20-week Diploma in Development Leadership is designed for citizen leaders who are passionate about creating positive change. Each summer, we are excited to welcome participants from around the world who represent a wide cross-section of public, private and civil society organizations. Their goal — to learn effective skills and approaches for leading community-driven development. 

The diploma program strengthens their capacity to confront the issues facing development and social justice practitioners today and to propose pragmatic strategies for change. Graduates leave with greater confidence and effective leadership skills.

The diploma includes foundational courses in leadership, transformative learning, gender, power, globalization and citizen-driven, asset-based development; thematic electives in accountable democracies, local economies, or community resilience; self-assigned research projects; specialized leadership courses in partnerships, learning organizations, facilitation or community-based research; electives and courses in theories of change and action planning.

The Diploma in Development Leadership is organized into three modules. The program begins with a foundation module in leadership, community development and transformative learning. The module includes courses in:

  • Citizen-Driven Asset-Based Development
  • Gender and Power
  • Globalization

Participants then choose electives from one of three thematic areas:

These electives help participants to gain insight and practical skills. 

In the second module, participants continue with work in leadership, communications and research methods and begin to integrate their learning in the context of what they will take home with them to make changes in themselves, their organizations and their communities. They then choose an area of specialization where they study a leadership skill area in-depth:

Participants complete elective courses in the third term, and join with their peers for a self-directed Cooperative Inquiry Seminar. These seminars provide the opportunity to learn a process for collective research and to investigate a topic of their own choice in-depth. Finally, participants express their own theory of change and articulate an action plan for how they will take their new learning home to provide leadership to their organizations and communities.  The Diploma in Development Leadership, provides a unique opportunity for practical learning about a new kind of leadership for development that can be applied in the world.


Tuition 12,000 CAD
Accommodation and meals 6,000 CAD
Total 18,000 CAD

Program costs are subject to change.

All successful applicants are responsible for the cost of travel.

Most qualified candidates receive a scholarship to assist with program costs. Please visit the scholarship page.