Our Emerging International Leaders Programme on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) will equip future leaders and opinion formers with the skills and insight necessary to drive debate, influence policy and build a powerful global network.

It responds to the fact that around three-quarters of the world’s population lives in countries that restrict such freedoms or fail to protect them. It aims to empower scholars to become advocates of human rights in their universities and home countries. 

The programme is open to postgraduate students who are scholars on the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme and the Chevening Scholarship Scheme. Every year, 50 high-potential candidates are selected and supported with  gaining an in-depth understanding of the importance of the freedom of religion or belief.

Key themes

Each year, a selected cohort of 50 participants explore FoRB in a contemporary, global context, focusing on:

  • Why is freedom of religion or belief important?
  • How does freedom of religion or belief intersect with other freedoms?
  • What are the successes/failings of existing national and international policies on freedom of religion or belief?
  • How can existing human rights frameworks be supplemented, supported and implemented?

There are also ongoing networking opportunities to encourage collaboration and dialogue throughout the year and beyond the scope of the year-long programme itself.

Residential retreats

Each cohort takes part in three residential retreats at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park, which are spread throughout the academic year. These offer funded accommodation and meals, and an interactive programme of lectures, workshops, and peer-to-peer learning.

During their stay, participants have the chance to engage in multi-disciplinary discussions with academics, advocates, religious leaders, policymakers and activitists.

We consider the significance of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and the broader legislative background and human rights framework for FoRB. We also go on to examine topics such as: the role of religion in the public sphere, religious literacy and inter-faith dialogue, and practical responses to violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief, worldwide. 

Our 2017/18 retreats will take place on:

  • 15 - 17 December 2017
  • 2 - 4 February 2018
  • 6 - 8 April 2018.

Applications for 2017/18

Applications for our 2017/18 programme have now closed. Candidates will be notified if they have been shortlisted by Friday 10 November.

If you have any questions about your elibility, in the first instance please refer to the 'Frequently Asked Questions' section on our news article here.

If your question(s) remain unanswered, please contact Dr Rachel Smillie, our Education Officer, by emailing: rsmillie@cumberlandlodge.ac.uk.

Chevening, Commonwealth Scholarships Commission & FCO