Yemen's long-term stability requires sensible leadership that has the knowledge and necessary skills to build the future, can embrace a culture of dialogue and is more amenable to compromise with their peers across the political spectrum. To contribute to this aspect, the Hikma Fellowship for Public Leaders brings together 15 first- and second-line emerging leaders from various political parties, movements, civil society, and influential independents.
These promising young men and women will undergo a carefully curated program of workshops, dialogue meetings, capacity-building modules, and participant-led activities that will sharpen their leadership skills and encourage collaboration spirits, cultivating a diverse community of young public leaders and contributing to building a common vision for Yemen’s future. In addition to tackling core national-level issues, the Fellows will complete advanced training modules on Negotiations Adaptive Leadership, Public Policy Development, and leading with integrity, delivered by internationally renowned institutions.
For example, the first cohort of the Hikma Fellowship hosted Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Prince Al-Hassan Bin Talal and others. The Hikma Fellowship will also seek to promote constructive engagement between the fellows, and local and international stakeholders. Using innovative polling methods, thousands of Yemeni youth will be polled at intervals throughout the project in order to feed their perspectives into the discussions of the Fellows and ground them in the realities facing young people across the country At the same time, the Fellows will engage high-level Yemeni, regional and international stakeholders through consultations and briefs, conveying the unique insights Yemeni youth have to offer and opening new lines of communication with key actors.
Advanced leadership training
The Fellows will complete advanced training modules covering a range of topics, including adaptive leadership, negotiation and leadership, public leadership and policymaking, and leading with integrity. The advanced training will be delivered by internationally renowned institutions and experts, centered around the following four thematic areas:
Adaptive Leadership is a practical leadership framework that enables individuals and organizations to adapt and overcome challenging environments and lead through uncertain times. In contrast to technical leadership, where the problem and corresponding solution can be well-defined, adaptive leadership is about acquiring the capacity to tackle issues that are poorly defined and deeply rooted, requiring strong interpersonal communication and teamwork. This course is designed to enhance the fellows’ adaptability and hone their ability to work judiciously through unpredictable and constantly shifting environments.
This course will be led by Hugh O’Doherty, adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Hugh is a pioneer in the field of adaptive leadership and conflict resolution, and his teachings draw from decades of experience in the field. In Northern Ireland, where Hugh was raised, he directed the Inter-Group Relations Project, an initiative bringing together political and community leaders in Ireland to establish protocols for political dialogue. In addition to Harvard, Hugh has also taught leadership and conflict resolution at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and the University of Maryland, where he directed the Ireland-US Public Leadership Program for emerging leaders from all the political parties in Ireland. Hugh earned an M.Ed and Ed.D from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Leading with integrity (in-person)
One of the persistent requirements demanded of senior government officials is that they possess not only the necessary professional skills but also a vision and ethical compass. This course explores a number of critical questions that feature in any public sector career, and is aimed at equipping public leaders with the skills to navigate the complex ethical landscape they can expect to face throughout their careers. Participants will learn to recognize that public policy issues are not solely technical, but involve fundamental values and conflicts between these values. They will also work on establishing clarity of purpose, and develop their reasoning skills to address and reflect on ethical dilemmas.
Public Leadership and Policymaking
This high-level executive training course on public leadership and policy analysis is tailored to develop an in-depth understanding of the preparation, decision-making, implementation and evaluation of public policies in Arab countries. The course is aimed at addressing a major skills gap identified in most Arab institutions, especially in political parties, ministries, and public and non-government organizations in charge of public policies and public development programs. The training program provides the most current knowledge, approaches, and tools for public management and policy analysis.
Negotiation and Leadership
In the Negotiation and Leadership course, the fellows will test their beliefs and assumptions, overcome emotional and rational biases, examine complex negotiation scenarios, and discover a range of competitive and cooperative negotiation strategies. In this program, the fellows will broaden their understanding of negotiating concepts, acquire proven negotiating techniques, and have the opportunity to put their learning into practice. This course will equip the fellows to overcome barriers, manage conflict, and achieve better outcomes at the bargaining table, every single time.
Negotiation is a high-transaction-cost activity, and the side that is better prepared nearly always has the upper hand. This course will explain the key negotiation fundamentals, the importance of managing the tension between creating and claiming value, managing emotions and relationships, dealing with difficult situations, dealing with complex negotiations and organizational challenges, and finally, putting it all together and leading through negotiation.
Tackling core national issues
The Fellows will convene for one dialogue session throughout the project to work collectively on tackling critical national-level issues from a youth perspective. Through discussion facilitated by Professor Sultan Barakat, senior project advisor, the fellows will determine the urgent issue to address.
This urgent topic will be identified in consultation between the Fellows, based on their assessment of the most relevant issues facing Yemeni youth at the time of the discussion. The Fellows will discuss the topic, reach out to their networks, and develop their positions on the topic. The outputs from the dialogue sessions, which may include recommendations, briefing reports, or other documents as determined by the Fellows, will be shared with relevant Yemeni and international stakeholders.
DeepRoot staff will support the Fellows with technical and analytical expertise throughout their discussions on the urgent topic. This will include providing the Fellows with background and polling data on the relevant topics (see Stakeholder Engagement below), and facilitating input from experts on the topics at hand.
Another component of the Fellowship Program is constructive engagement with Yemeni and international stakeholders. Innovative communication tools will be used to reach out to Yemeni youth in order to feed their perspectives into the discussions of the Fellows and ground them in the realities facing young people across the country. At the same time, the Fellows will engage high-level Yemeni, regional and international stakeholders through consultations and briefs, conveying the unique insights young Yemeni leaders have to offer and opening new lines of communication with key actors.
To reach youth nationwide, DeepRoot will use a tailored digital polling mechanism to receive input from thousands of young Yemenis on the topics being addressed by the Fellows. The youth respondents will be polled at intervals throughout the project, and DeepRoot will present this data to the Fellows to incorporate into their discussions. At the same time, the program staff will support the Fellows to develop their own outreach plan to publicize the project activities and outcomes and interact further with youth across Yemen.
The Fellowship will also include networking and raising the diverse and often under-valued perspectives of Yemeni young leaders to high-level regional and international stakeholders. This will be achieved through various means, including by disseminating the findings and key outcomes from the dialogue meeting, and through organizing consultations with stakeholders.