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India Fellows are Driving Real Change in their Own Communities.

Each year, the India Fellows Program brings together 20 emerging leaders from different regions, sectors, and socio-economic backgrounds in India.

About the India Fellows Program

Our Regional Fellows Program is a one-year leadership development program designed to build the next generation of social leaders with the audacity to transform society and create a better, more inclusive world.

The program equips 20 extraordinary individuals from across India with the knowledge, support system and practical wisdom to unlock their full potential and drive positive change in society. Over the course of a year, Fellows remain in their jobs while taking part in five week-long seminars, where they receive the tools, training and space to innovate new ideas, accelerate their impact, build a strong network of social leaders from across their region and around the world.

Whole cohort

Who Becomes a Regional Fellow


Our Fellows are bright minds and big thinkers who dare to do what’s right, not what’s easy, to create positive change in their country. Fellows can come from diverse cultural, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds and work in any sector, and they must be committed to ending poverty in their community through their work.

The Fellows we seek are:

  • Innovators who either started an organization or enterprise, or who are driving change within an existing organization or company.
  • Men and women of all ages and education levels who are able to participate in a program conducted in English.
  • Indians who demonstrate a commitment and concrete connection to the region.
  • Leaders with strong personal integrity, unrelenting perseverance and moral imagination.
  • Committed individuals ready to undergo an intensive yearlong personal transformation and leadership journey.

Regional Fellows Training

During the course of a year-long program, Acumen Regional Fellows remain in their jobs and come together every 6-8 weeks for a series of 5 seminars focused on developing the skills needed to be the next generation of social change leaders. Acumen Fellows focus on gaining the financial expertise, operational expertise, and moral imagination necessary to solve the world’s toughest problems. In addition to developing the core areas of Acumen’s leadership model, Fellows meet with prominent leaders from across sectors and build relationships within their cohort and Acumen Fellows Alumni around the world.

Seminar 1: Foundations of Leadership

The first seminar explores the meaning of a just society and the moral and historical foundation of social change through a series of curated readings of great thinkers such as Plato, Gandhi, Amartya Sen, Nelson Mandela and Binyavanga Wainaina.

Seminar 2: Adaptive Leadership & Moral Imagination

The second seminar delves into the nature of leadership and what is needed to mobilize people and resources in a rapidly changing world.

Seminar 3: Financial & Operational Skills

The third seminar focuses on building financial and operational skills through experiential learning. Fellows learn the importance of human-centered design, experiment with building lean business models and acquire the tools to measure social impact.

Seminar 4: Learning Trip

The fourth seminar gives Fellows a deeper understanding of what is required to create systems change in their region through curated interactions with thought leaders and innovators in local communities.

Seminar 5: Leading into the Future

As the program comes to a close, Fellows reflect on their leadership journey, set goals to improve their work and make plans to stay connected before participating in a graduation ceremony.

Beyond the Fellowship

The fellowship is more than just a one-year program – it is the start of a lifelong leadership journey and the beginning of a lasting relationship with Acumen Fellows Alumni around the world.

Alumni Network

After graduating from any of our Fellows Programs – either East Africa, Pakistan, India, or Global – all of our Fellows join a single, united Fellows Alumni group. Acumen understands that leadership can be a lonely journey, and the Alumni body acts as a support system where Fellows can not only push each other but also collaborate to achieve their goals. Alumni are also actively involved in selecting future cohorts, get exclusive invitations to Acumen events, and receive a quarterly Alumni Newsletter. In addition, there are a number of examples of Alumni working together on new businesses and social impact initiatives.

Acumen’s Global Community

Alumni not only maintain their connection to their fellow Fellows, but also to Acumen’s extensive global community of advisors and peer organizations. Alumni have been able to leverage our network to gain connections to investors, job opportunities and mentors.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2016 Class of India Fellows open on July 1, 2015 and close on September 1, 2015.

The Application Process

The online application consists of:

  • Background information
  • Resume/CV
  • Short & long answer questions

Application Instructions: For more guidance on how to answer the application questions, please click here

Frequently Asked Questions: For a list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers, please click here.

Downloadable Application: For applicants who are unable to apply via the WizeHive link below, please click here.

The Selection Process

The selection process for this program is very rigorous and highly competitive. Here is a general timeline of the process:

  • Applications for the 2016 Class open: July 1, 2015
  • Applications close: September 1, 2015
  • Telephone Interviews: September 2015
  • In-Person Interviews: October 17, 2015
  • Final Selection: December 2015

If you are unable to apply via the WizeHive portal above, please download the India Fellows Application form.

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Meet the Regional Fellows

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