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This blog explains where we've got to in our thinking about ‘What makes a great Fellowship?' and our international plans.

‘What makes a great Fellowship?’ is a question we constantly ask ourselves here at John Adam Street.  Our working hypothesis is that it’s the combination of great people and great ideas.   Some Fellows tend towards just the ideas end of the spectrum, for others it’s mainly about meeting new and interesting people, though for most it’s a combination of the two.  That’s why our series of ‘Engage’ and ‘Connect’ events which we’re running across the UK has a deliberate combination of both elements.

As such, when our new Insights Manager, Pete, came up with a heat map of our Fellows outside the UK (you can find it here) it was exciting but also a little worrying.  Exciting, because it is amazing to see that the Fellowship truly does cover the globe from Kazakhstan to Guatemala.  Worrying, because while some areas of the World such as New York, Dubai or Kuala Lumpur have a strong group of Fellows, many others are on their own.  How can we provide the great people aspect of Fellowship when there are no other Fellows around? 

Our recent website update means you can search for, and find, other Fellows – filtering by location, interests and skills. (If you haven’t registered yet then do so here ).  There are forums, an online messaging service, and you can comment on posts and get involved in discussions with Fellows worldwide. 

However, there’s nothing quite like meeting and chatting to people face to face. To enable this, the solution is to grow the Fellowship across the globe.  So whether you are a Fellow outside the UK or know people who live outside the UK, do nominate those you think would be suitable.  If everyone in the Fellowship nominated just one suitable person, our reach and influence would grow enormously - just drop me a line with the details.

The other reason for growing the Fellowship internationally is that we have grand ambitions to ‘enrich society through ideas and action’ - not just in the UK but globally under the stewardship of our energetic new International Director, Natalie.

How do you enrich society?  Our working hypothesis is exactly the same – a combination of great people and great ideas.  The RSA is full of great ideas, whether it’s from our research department, our Fellows or contributors to our events.  Getting great Fellows on the ground across the World in larger numbers will enable us to turn those ideas into action globally.  That is an exciting ambition, one we're aiming to achieve in the next few years.  It will also mean there won't be so many Fellows on their own for me to worry about. 

Oliver Reichardt is the Director of Fellowship at the RSA

Follow him @OliverReichardt


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