The Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) is a third stage in higher education designed to prepare experienced leaders to take on new challenges in the social sector where they have the potential to make an even greater societal impact than they did in their careers.
Faculty from Harvard's professional schools of business, education, government, law, medicine and public health formed ALI to build knowledge about societal challenges requiring interdisciplinary leadership skills and to deploy accomplished leaders at later life stages in public service. This bold, academic innovation has now become another facet of higher education, changed the concept of "retirement" and helped change the world for the better.
A simple one-off approach cannot solve systemic problems with political and technical dimensions—poverty, global health, environmental degradation, and basic education—however, research universities are uniquely positioned to close knowledge gaps by finding new ways to develop and implement comprehensive solutions through integrative research and educational innovation.
Through the Advanced Leadership Initiative, Harvard is seeking to tap the experience of a socially conscious generation of leaders. ALI aims to help redirect and broaden these leaders' skills to fill these critical gaps in solving major social issues.
Starting in January 2009, a select group of ALI Fellows from diverse sectors with a track record of achievement and accomplishment have come to Harvard for the ALI Fellowship program. The program helps them to transition from their primary income-earning careers and prepare for their next phase plan as change agents for society.
During their year at Harvard, ALI Fellows take advantage of the vast intellectual resources of the University to learn, teach, mentor, consult, reflect and plan their next steps to positively impact the world. Following the fellowship year, these leaders join the ALI Coalition, a community of past fellows working together to multiply their impact.