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Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program

Transforming the lives of low-income, first-in-family to college students.

Since its inauguration in 2017, the Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program (CELP) has transformed the lives of first-in-family college students globally by identifying and nurturing hidden talent to build cohorts of next-generation leaders.

By providing an array of educational resources, direct connections to Harvard faculty, mentorship opportunities, and affinity networks, CELP supports young people around the world in reimagining their academic and professional futures, fostering “success” through locally-grown, aspirational narratives.

Faculty Leads

Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Director, The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute

Karim R. Lakhani, Charles E. Wilson Professor, Harvard Business School; Director, Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH)

Applications are open for the 2021 Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program! Apply by March 22, 2021.








Program Features

The Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program cultivates a dynamic network of future leaders from underserved socioeconomic, racial, and cultural backgrounds spanning over 115 countries.

CELP’s multi-stage evaluation process offers a host of benefits to thousands of applicants. These include:

For participants:

  1. Free access to HarvardX courses
  2. Machine-learning-based skills assessment and recommendations for improvement
  3. Live, interactive sessions featuring senior Harvard faculty from a range of disciplinary backgrounds

For semi-finalists and finalists:

  1. Mentorship opportunities with Harvard alumni and industry leaders
  2. Smaller peer group settings to discuss course material and academic affinities
  3. Access to paid or unpaid internships, locally, regionally, or internationally
  4. Access to mentorship for one year post-program
  5. Participation in an annual regional alumni event

For finalists:

  1. Intensive finalist program with case-study-based curricula
  2. Consideration for 1,500 USD student grant for internships or short courses in-region
  3. Competition for a 10,000 USD seed fund for innovative in-region initiatives

Program Details

The ultimate aim of the program is to create a diverse pipeline of future graduate students at leading universities, such as Harvard, and a dynamic network of future leaders across an array of socioeconomic, racial, and cultural backgrounds.

Media and Resources

News and Media

Catch up on the latest developments in the Crossroads Emerging Leadership Program through news articles, as well as videos of past iterations of the program.

The Crossroads program was truly a life-changing experience for me. I had the opportunity to meet and network with professors, mentors, and students with unique experiences from across the world. The program provided me an exceptional opportunity to explore different career options. It also gave me the perfect platform to express my ideas and learn more about different countries and cultures.

Galin D.

Syria (CELP 2018 Alumnus)

I loved the inclusivity achieved by the program. Everyone was given a chance to contribute and be heard. It really opens up your mind to think through different perspectives.
Connie N.

Kenya (CELP 2020 Alumnus)

The Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program is made possible through the support of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Center for African Studies, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and edX at Harvard University. 
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA), Air Arabia, Chalhoub Group, Lootah Group, Orchid Gulf FZ, and Sisban Corporation have been instrumental in the program’s growth.