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SDSN Youth Local Pathways Fellowship for Urban Leaders in USA 2020

Deadline: December 15th, 2019.

The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth Initiative (SDSN Youth) announced the launch of the call for applications for the 2020 cohort of its Local Pathways Fellowship program. The Fellowship is one of the world's leading training and research programs on SDG11 for young urban leaders.

It offers the knowledge, resources, and platform needed to empower young urban innovators to take local actions for the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda in their localities by:

  • Guiding and informing their advocacy and outreach work;

  • Providing them with a framework for engagement with local stakeholders;

  • Facilitating mutual learning and exchange of urban solutions; and

  • Supporting their efforts to promote local understanding, dialogue and problem-solving for sustainable development.

Each year, the Local Pathways Fellowship brings together a network of more than sixty young thought leaders, urban planners, sustainability practitioners, researchers, and innovators from more than fifty cities across the world to advance local dialogue, collaboration, and problem solving around Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11) to make cities and urban settlements “smart, fair and sustainable''. Announced at the Vatican Youth Symposium on October 16th, 2019, the Local Pathways 2020 cohort is expanding to a hundred cities and has redesigned its curriculum to help fellows develop skills that will be in high demand in 2020.

The fellowship is supported by the SDG Cities Guide, MIT Solve, World Urban Campaign, Milan Urban Food Policy Act, UN-Habitat, Alliance for Peacebuilding and the World Federation of United Nations Associations. Our partners collaborate with their thought leadership, advisory, guidance, access to opportunities and mentorship.

The core component of the Fellowship is a practically-oriented training program, which is designed to enable young fellows to understand the process of “localizing” SDG 11 in the cities they represent and to guide them through the development of a project. This is done through:

  • The Sustainable Cities online course led by Aromar Revi, Director of Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), and participation from other thought leaders from the sector including Jeffrey D. Sachs Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network; Sheela Patel, Founder Director of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres; Edgar Pieterse, South African Research Chair in Urban Policy at the University of Cape Town; Raf Tuts, Director of the Programme Division at United Nations Human Settlements Programme; and more.

  • Monthly webinars with experts who share their insight into various aspects of the industry.

  • A series of monthly assignments, which guides fellows through the development of a project that proposes a solution to the challenges in their cities. The first half of the fellowship is focused on localized research and the second half on idea generation and the design process of solutions.

  • A peer-to-peer network of young urban leaders and innovators from over 75 cities across the globe.

  • Visibility opportunities as top candidates can be selected to participate in international conferences and events such as the International Conference on Sustainable Development, Vatican Youth Symposium, or the World Urban Forum etc. or recommended for awards such as the Local Project Challenge by Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University to or Habitat's Youth Advisory Body.

Application Process

Local Pathways Fellowship welcomes young applicants across the globe, passionate about sustainable urban development. Requirements for the applicants:

  • Candidates must be between 18 and 30 years old at the time of application (exceptions may apply);

  • Candidates must be based in the same city throughout the entire duration of the Fellowship (January through November 2020);

  • Candidates must be fluent in English and the local language of the cities they represent;

  • Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to and a solid understanding of the concept of sustainable development;

  • Candidates must be able to commit the minimum of 5-7 hours each week on average;

  • Candidates must have a stable internet connection;

  • A minimum of one year of professional or academic experience in development practice, urban planning, community engagement and advocacy, or similar;

  • A demonstrated background in research, development practice, advocacy or similar fields would be considered a strong asset.

  • Candidates representing any city and country in the world are encouraged to apply, however, SDSN Youth will make efforts to ensure diversity of regional representation among the fellows.

The 2020 Local Pathways Fellowship application period opens on November 1, 2019, and runs until December 15th, 2019. The selected fellows will be notified on January 25th, 2020.


Making an Impact

  • Being part of SDSN Youth and the Local Pathways Fellowship enables you to be at the forefront of efforts taken by the United Nations, governments, companies and civil society in developing and leading a global movement for sustainable development and enables to make an impact.

  • We are creating a movement of young people, who are committed to sustainable development and are being equipped with the necessary skills and tools to overcome key challenges and meaningfully contribute to the achievement of SDGs in communities.

Aspirations and Networks

  • SDSN Youth and the Local Pathways Fellowship enables you to build professional and personal relationships with high-level stakeholders in civil society, business, government, and the United Nations.

  • By joining the Local Pathways Fellowship, you will be part of a diverse and exceptional group of fellows with a variety of cultural, religious and political backgrounds, committed to sustainable development.

  • The relationships you develop through SDSN Youth and the Local Pathways Fellowship could serve as a foundation for your future endeavours.


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