Senior Fellows Network Frequently Asked Questions

This is a Senior Fellows network. Is there an age requirement? What is meant by "leadership position"?

There is no age requirement for the program. However, applicants are expected to be seasoned practitioners with at least 10 years experience in a management position, and have a rich professional history, a track record of accomplishment, and a reputation for innovation and risk-taking.

Some examples of position titles are chief executive/executive director, deputy director, program director, and program manager.

Does the program accept leaders from the business and government sectors?

No. Synergos accepts candidates whose primary occupation is with an organization that is not-for-profit and non-governmental.

Does the program accept leaders from any kind of civil society organization?

The Synergos Senior Fellows Network is open to leaders of non-profit, non-governmental organizations that focus on poverty alleviation, social justice, and/or community development. These organizations can be research-oriented, implementing programs, grant-making (e.g. community foundations), or another type of resource-based group (providing technical or other capacity-building assistance). These organizations must be committed to the participation of and accountability to the communities they serve; committed to addressing the underlying causes of poverty and inequity; and open and committed to working in partnership with other sectors of society.

What is meant by “working in partnership with other sectors of society”?

To advance its vision, Synergos works to inspire, build and support inclusive partnerships that address the systemic causes of poverty and inequity.

Synergos believes that poor and marginalized communities must have a significant role in determining their own future development and that needed systemic change often occurs when they can work in meaningful partnership with other citizens, institutions and sectors.

This partnership translates beyond a donor-grantee arrangement. Synergos translates "partnership" to be a joint effort among multiple stakeholders (market, state, and society) to solve a complex problem related to poverty and inequity. In this joint effort, the needs, responsibilities, and benefits are shared among the stakeholders, and the issues and solutions are identified with the direct involvement of the community/beneficiaries.

What are the requirements of the program? How much time is expected of me each year?

The fellowship begins the January after the recruitment period and concludes the December of the third year of participation (for example, January 2010 to December 2012). During the three-year fellowship, Senior Fellows are expected to

Active Fellows participate in fellowship activities concurrently with their ongoing professional responsibilities and are expected to commit a minimum of 14 non-consecutive days per year of the three-year fellowship. This time period includes the activities listed above, but does not include the time to travel there.

Newly recruited Fellows will participate in a two-and-a-half day orientation meeting during the first quarter of their first year. This orientation will take place at the Synergos office in New York City.

After the three years, Fellows are invited to continue participating in program activities as they are able, but their participation will not be subsidized by Synergos. Fellows will continue to receive network communications and invitations, be considered for field assignments, and have access to Senior Fellows internet-based and other informational resources, among other things.

What sort of mentoring or learning will I receive? Will I be able to share any of my expertise?

Newly selected Fellows work closely with Synergos staff (fellowship advisors) to devise and implement individual goals for learning. These learning plans are evaluated each year to measure progress and adjust the course, if necessary. Fellows can expect to deepen their understanding of social justice, poverty alleviation, cross-sector partnership-building, community development, and organizational sustainability.

The methodology of the Senior Fellows Network is peer-to-peer learning, service, and action. This means that Fellows serve as advisors to each other and to other civil society leaders and institutions around the world through field assignments and peer exchanges.

What are "field assignments" and "peer exchanges"? What are some examples?

Field assignments and peer exchanges are a core component of the Synergos fellowship. Fellows serve as advisors/teachers/consultants to each other and other non-profit, non-governmental organizations around the world to impart their experience and knowledge about a thematic issue, geography, and/or skill. These assignments may be with another fellow, a member of the Synergos Global Philanthropists Circle, another Synergos partner, or an organization outside the Synergos network that is seeking assistance.

The goals of these assignments are to expand the Fellow's knowledge, expertise, and contacts by practical application, and to create a measurable impact for the organization or individual that the Fellow assists.

Examples of field assignments and peer exchanges are:

Fellows are expected to be available for at least one assignment during their participation in the fellowship. Some assignments are one-time workshops, while others may be multi-day or long-term exchanges.

At the conclusion of the assignment, the Fellow will be asked to provide feedback on the experience. Any tools, case studies, or other resource he/she produces will be made available to other Fellows and a wider audience.

Am I paid to participate? How is my participation in the fellowship supported?

Synergos will cover Fellows' expenses directly related to fellowship activities, such as travel and accommodations, if Fellows themselves or their institutions are not in a position to do so. Stipends or other financial disbursement are not provided. In certain arrangements, Fellows participating in a field consultancy or peer exchange will receive a nominal honorarium for their time committed.

The Synergos Institute is not a grant-making organization. It is funded by private foundations, corporate foundations, individuals, and government agencies. The Senior Fellows program is administered in partnership with The Synergos Institute Cananda and is made possible in part thanks to support from Kim Samuel. Other current and past supporters of the Senior Fellows Network include the Mott, Ford, Hewlett, Shell, Lodestar, Lavender, and Khemka Foundations.

What travel is involved?

International air travel is required to participate in the annual global meeting, field assignments, and other gatherings. As participation in Fellows activities are core requirements of the program, Fellows must be willing and able to travel internationally.

How do I apply to the Senior Fellows Network?

See our application page.

How can I get more information?

Senior Fellows Network Description

To Become a Senior Fellow

See the List of Fellows

Please contact:
Senior Fellows Program
Tel +1-646-963-2199
Fax +1-646-201-5220