Common Purpose US

We develop global leaders who can cross boundaries

If problems cross boundaries, then leaders need to cross them too. Common Purpose specializes in developing leaders with the Cultural Intelligence to cross different boundaries—whether that’s geographies, generations, sectors, specializations, backgrounds or beliefs.

Our programmes take leaders out into cities across the world to meet people they would not normally meet; in locations they might not otherwise consider. This unique brand of experiential learning has, so far, enabled 80,000 Common Purpose alumni to become culturally intelligent leaders who are better at solving problems and creating change in society.

We deliver programmes aimed at different career stages. We are proud to have partnered with organizations such as GE, the American Express Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation to deliver programmes for senior leaders and emerging leaders around the world. We work with universities such as Harvard University, University of Chicago, MIT, New York University, Brown University and Northwestern University to deliver student leadership programmes in the US and we have also delivered Study Abroad programmes in the US for University of Leeds and University of Exeter.

Examples of our work

Our programme for University of Chicago, Civic Leadership Academy Fellows

We partnered with the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement to deliver a global leadership programme as part of the University's inaugural Civic Leadership Academy‎, which prepares emerging and high-potential leaders in non-profit and local government organizations in Chicago for greater civic leadership.

Derek R.B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement, The University of Chicago

“The Fellows’ trip to South Africa provided a unique opportunity for them to learn about civic leadership from an international perspective, which will help them make a greater impact in their own communities. We chose to partner with Common Purpose because of the depth of their experience and their understanding of civic and city leadership.” 

Denean Pillar-Jackson, Associate Director, Corporate Partnerships, Year Up

“The program has provided me with exposure, insight and experiences that have far exceeded expectations. I will be impacted in both my professional and personal growth and development.”

Working with GE to develop ASEAN leaders

Supported by GE and run in partnership with the ASEAN Foundation, our ASEAN leaders programme will bring together senior leaders from ten ASEAN countries - from all sectors and walks of life - onto a common platform where they will work together to address a carefully selected challenge relevant to the region.

Elaine Tan, Executive Director, ASEAN Foundation

"We are excited to partner with Common Purpose on this excellent initiative that brings senior leaders from ASEAN together to build connections across the region and work collaboratively to solve its common challenges."

Wouter van Wersch, President & CEO, GE ASEAN

“As global citizens we recognize the need for strong leadership to tackle the challenges of an ever-changing, complex and boundary-less world.”

Our student work

Rakesh Khurana, Dean, Harvard College

"In our ever more complex and interconnected world which has no obvious historical parallel, Common Purpose has developed a breakthrough idea about the importance of cultural intelligence (CQ) in order to navigate both this new world and its contradictions. It has important implications and raises questions about our current systems for those of us involved in educating and developing our future global citizens."

Timothy J. McClimon, President, American Express Foundation

"Our Leadership Academy has proven to be an effective tool for building the leadership and business skills that are critical to the sector’s success."