Leeds to South Korea: Students tackling global problems

Global news

Students from Leeds and South Korea's KAIST University are working together in a global leadership programme to develop solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

The Leeds to South Korea Leadership Programme, funded through the generosity of a former Leeds student and taking place this week, involves students participating in five days of activities to tackle the UN Sustainability Goal 11 of making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. 

Learning to be culturally intelligent will help me be an effective and reliable leader

Digital media student Abinav Bhattachan

The programme, a partnership with leadership development organisation Common Purpose, brings together 30 students from the University of Leeds and 25 from KAIST for an immersive experience of workshops, guest speeches and interactions with business leaders. The aim of the event is to provide them with a global perspective on problem solving, and to cultivate cultural intelligence and strong leadership skills. 

The opportunity also gives the participants a chance to engage in discussion with academic researchers and fellow students from various disciplines, allowing them to network extensively and approach issues through varying perspectives.  

22 nationalities

After a successful run in 2019, the programme goes online this year, widening the scope for global participation. Students representing 22 nationalities will be signing in from 12 different countries to take part in the programme. These international encounters will both set them apart in the competitive graduate job market and create global citizens who will go on to become future leaders.  

The students will strive to work as a whole and in smaller groups to assemble final presentations and pitch their ideas and proposed solutions to a distinguished panel.  

Digital media student Abinav Bhattachan, who took part in the programme in 2019, said: “The skills that I learned through the Leeds to South Korea Leadership Programme will definitely benefit me in the future. For example, being able to delegate tasks, and work with people skills in the best possible way in the context of the task we were delegated. As a social entrepreneur who will be starting my own business, I hope to one day be employing people and working across different countries. Learning to be culturally intelligent will help me be an effective and reliable leader.” 

Open to all  

The participants will all receive a personalised certification for their LinkedIn profile indicating to potential employers that they have demonstrated competency in inclusive leadership. 

Seventy applicants from Leeds went through a rigorous selection process where they had to demonstrate their interest for the programme, understanding of the agenda and highlight the personal benefits of it through a short video or 500-word personal statement. It was open to every student, from undergraduate to postgraduate level across all disciplines. 

Shortlisted candidates were not judged based on their prior leadership experiences, rather on their tendency to use this opportunity to form them. This provided learners with a unique platform to shape their communication and leadership skills.  

A similar programme is planned for 1,000 Leeds students in the autumn, thanks to the generosity of the alumni and other supporters. Visit the Leeds to South Korea webpage for further details. 

Further information 

For media enquiries contact University of Leeds press officer Lauren Ballinger via l.ballinger@leeds.ac.uk