On the occasion of Yale's tercentenary, in 2001, University President Richard C. Levin launched a number of internationalization initiatives aimed at enhancing Yale's global footprint. The Yale World Fellows Program was among these, and it has since emerged as the University's signature international leadership training program – with a steadily growing global reputation for excellence – as well as a popular, broadly participatory program for the entire Yale community. Yale welcomed the first class of World Fellows to New Haven in the fall of 2002, and now boasts more than 100 emerging leaders world wide. These include a diversity of committed innovators, from top government officials and members of parliament to on-the-ground activists and investigative journalists to ground-breaking artists and next-generation business executives.
Yale has long been known as a training ground for leaders. For three centuries, Yale's graduates have achieved prominence across the spectrum of US political, economic, and cultural life. Building deliberately upon the University's tradition, the World Fellows Program provides training to emerging leaders from around the world that reflects a rigorous standard of excellence, a commitment to inquiry, and an ongoing pursuit of innovation.Creating a global network of emerging leaders and to broaden international understanding at Yale, the World Fellows Program each year brings to Yale 14-18 highly accomplished men and women from a diverse set of countries around the world. The Fellows spend an intensive semester exploring critical issues and undergoing leadership training, with the full resources of Yale University at their disposal. Selected from outside the United States at an early mid-career point (generally five to fifteen years into their professional development), the World Fellows come from a range of fields and disciplines including government, business, nongovernmental organizations, religion, the military, media, and the arts. Guided by faculty advisors, the Fellows deepen their resource bases, advance their breadth of understanding, and augment their skills. Building on access to the students, faculty, alumni, and Yale visitors, the Fellows prepare for greater roles of leadership, expand their professional and personal horizons, and contribute to a deepening of international awareness and dialogue within the Yale community.