The Impact Fellowships Summit

The Impact Fellowships Summit

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An attendee standing at a table. She's talking to other participants at the table.

The Impact Fellowships Summit is a forum for leaders and managers of fellowship programs that support leaders to drive positive change in communities. Participants learn, share, and network to improve the quality of fellowship programs.

Globally, 21st century leaders face political, environmental, and social change. If these leaders are to succeed, the fellowship programs that prepare them must respond to this change and also continue to learn, adapt, and incorporate approaches to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion.

IREX is planning the next Impact Fellowships Summit and other events for 2021. Check back in early 2021 for updates.

The 2020 Impact Fellowships Summit

Diverse and equitable leadership for a changing world requires impact fellowship practitioners who adapt their programs to acknowledge the advantages and barriers that exist for their fellows, know how to build and sustain networks, use a learning mindset, and understand where they can have the most impact.

The 2020 summit provided attendees with the opportunity to delve into these topics through interactive sessions and discussions, empowering participants with the knowledge, skills, and tools to integrate this learning back into their fellowships. This will result in better outcomes for attendees and for the fellows and leaders they serve.

Through three technical tracks and the conference theme, the summit:

  • Shared ideas and innovative tools to improve the management and content of fellowship and leadership programs
  • Strengthened the community of fellowship program innovators while continuing to build knowledge and shared expertise on topics of interest to fellowship and leadership programs

What Is an Impact Fellowship?

Impact fellowships are programs that support emerging and experienced leaders to increase their effectiveness as changemakers. Impact fellowships build participants' confidence, enhance their abilities, increase their access to opportunities, and strengthen their networks.

Whether the participant is the founder of a community-based organization in Wisconsin, a primary school teacher in Uganda, or a university student in Pakistan, fellowship program participants are selected for these opportunities because they have demonstrated the passion and potential to bring about positive change for their institutions and communities.

History of the Impact Fellowships Summit

Founded in 2016 by Atlas Corps, ProInspire, and Public Allies, the Impact Fellowships Summit fostered an inclusive learning and sharing community for individuals who work on social impact fellowship programs, identified and acted on opportunities for collective action, and facilitated ongoing collaboration and support among community members.

The first two years of the summit successfully built and tested the model, creating an intimate, valuable space for the community to assemble for learning and sharing.

In 2018, building on the great work of the founding organizations, IREX took on the convening role for the summit. IREX brings a unique perspective as an organization that has managed fellowship programs with participants from over 100 countries and promoted leadership development for over 50 years.

In April 2019, IREX convened its first Impact Fellowships Summit around the theme Dynamic Leadership for a Changing World. Over two days, 128 fellowship practitioners representing 86 organizations attended to share, learn, and network. As a result, 98% of attendees were exposed to new tools and resources that they planned to bring back to their organizations and 94% of attendees fostered meaningful connections with other attendees. IREX looks forward to continuing to leverage its expertise to evolve the structure and content of the summit and push the boundaries of a traditional learning conference, while maintaining the original spirit of collaboration, flexibility, and learning.