Diploma in Development Leadership

Diploma in Development Leadership

March 15 to November 30, 2023

Applications are now closed

Click here to meet the Diploma in Development Leadership class of 2023.

Our Diploma in Development Leadership is designed for those who are passionate about creating positive change in their communities. The program is designed for a diverse cohort of practitioners from around the world who represent a wide cross-section of civil society, public, and private groups, and organizations. Together, they will learn innovative skills and approaches for leadership in asset-based, just, and sustainable development.

The Diploma program strengthens participants’ capacity to confront the complex issues they face and to propose pragmatic strategies for change. Throughout the program, participants build and draw upon a critical and reflective social change framework to enhance their leadership competencies and their abilities to motivate and support people in creating a better world for future generations. The program is deeply rooted in a community-driven and adult education approach that draws on over 50 years of practical experience.

Throughout the program, a collaborative relationship is fostered among facilitators and participants to draw out lessons and insights from their rich and diverse experiences. This sharing and co-creation of knowledge is a cornerstone to the Diploma program. Graduates leave with greater confidence and even stronger leadership skills, joining a global network of committed Coady graduates.

The Diploma is delivered through a blended model, divided into three mandatory modules:

  • Module 1 (March 15 to April 15, 2023) consists of an online course focused on the introduction to core concepts and relationship building within the cohort.
  • Module 2 (May 15 to July 24, 2023) consists of a 10-week, in-person residency at the Coady Institute that includes a foundational course in leadership grounded in asset-based development, social justice and feminist practice, and facilitating social change through an adult education-informed lens. This is followed by electives centered on topics relevant to community development practitioners, and a final course focused on integration of learnings and planning for implementation in Module 3.

Potential Electives include:

    • Advocacy: Increasing Citizen Voice and Agency
    • Community-Led Action in a Changing Climate
    • Livelihoods and Markets
  • Module 3 (September 15 to November 30, 2023) consists of a 10-week practical module where participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their learnings in practice with the accompaniment of Coady facilitators and through peer learning.
Diploma Timeline
Diploma timeline vertical

The program goal is:

To strengthen individuals and organizations involved in sustainable, asset-based, and equitable development by providing leadership development opportunities for emergent and established leaders.

By the end of the program, participants should be able to:

  • practice transformative leadership to support sustainable, asset-based, and  equitable development, driven by those most impacted by development initiatives;
  • apply a broad range of participatory adult education methodologies;
  • develop or adapt innovative practices that support the planning, monitoring, and evaluation of asset-based development initiatives;
  • pursue self-directed research and learning goals, including applying action research methods or inquiry-based processes for social learning at the organizational and community level;
  • apply their learning directly to a change initiative in support of sustainable, equitable development in their organization and/or community;
  • act collectively through knowledge sharing, networking, and multi-stakeholder processes at national and global levels; and,
  • participate in ongoing co-learning to address contemporary issues and trends in development.

Program Eligibility

The Diploma in Development Leadership is for leaders who:

  • Possess a minimum of five years of demonstrated leadership experience in a social or economic development endeavor in sectors such as livelihoods or inclusive economic development, food security, environment, access to education and health care, governance, socio-political equity and inclusion among equity-seeking groups;
  • Will be immediately returning to their community and sector following the program to put their learning into practice;
  • Have great drive and passion for their work, demonstrated through their outstanding contributions in their organizations and communities;
  • Are practitioners in civil society organizations including community-based organizations and not for profits, or active in public or private institutions, donor/philanthropic agencies, social movements or in a social enterprise/business;
  • Hold a combination of post-secondary education and/or lived experience; and
  • Have strong oral and written English language competencies.

Cost of the program:

Coady Institute ensures that participants working with marginalized communities around the world have access to its courses. This is made possible through the provision of bursaries that are funded by many individual and institutional donors. After bursary, the remaining cost of the program is $5,000 CAD. Accepted participants will be responsible for paying the balance of $5,000 CAD before the designated deadline. This includes tuition for all three modules, and room and board for the 10-week residency at Coady Institute on the campus of St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia during Module 2.

All travel related expenses including airfare and visa fees are the responsibility of the participant. Coady Institute will arrange and cover ground transportation costs between Halifax Stanfield International Airport and the Coady Institute.


Please Note

Please note that Coady Institute does not accept third party applications. Individuals need to submit their application via Coady’s website and should use caution when approached by those offering services to complete the application and admissions process.