Equipping New University Presidents to Lead Effectively in the Developing World (2015)

This paper, prepared by Wilfred B. Brewer, President of Performance-Solutions-Group, Inc., and Mahboob Mahmood, Founder and CEO of Knowledge Platform, provides lessons from the 2014 WISE Leadership Conference in Doha, Qatar. The WISE Program for Education Leadership is part of the Qatar Foundation’s WISE Initiative, which is an international, multi-sectoral platform for creative thinking, debate, and purposeful action in the field of education.

Since 2010, the WISE Program for Education Leadership has worked with more than 70 university presidents, rectors, and vice-chancellors from more than 35 countries on leadership development training. Each year, a group of 10–20 new university leaders are selected to take part in the three-day program in Doha. The participants are guided through a rigorous program delivered by expert trainers from around the world, covering some university-specific topics and other more general leadership and management themes. Core to the training philosophy is the understanding that new university leaders have a unique opportunity to effect change at their home institutions, communities, and countries. The WISE leadership program aims to better equip these new leaders with the knowledge, skills, and self-awareness needed to lead effectively in a variety of institutional, social, political, and economic arenas.

This briefing paper provides a compelling analysis of data collected from the most recent WISE Program for Education Leadership class, providing key distinctions of challenges and strategic priorities, but also describing the many important similarities. Brewer and Mahmood conclude with essential recommendations for new university leaders in any country.