Philanthropic Leadership Platform − China-Europe


2016, 2017, 2018 Brussels, Beijing

Final list of selected participants announced

What is the Philanthropic Leadership Platform − China-Europe?

Philanthropic organisations across the globe are grappling with the same fundamental questions around impact, effecting change, and understanding their role in taking on societal challenges. In the firm belief that learning from each other is key to tackling such questions, this intensive, ten-day leadership development programme brings together 20 mid- to senior-level philanthropic practitioners from China and Europe to enhance their leadership skills by sharing with each other their knowledge, experience, creativity and concerns. The programme, which alternates annually between Europe and China, is funded by Stiftung Mercator and led by the EFC in partnership with the China Global Philanthropy Institute.

The programme challenges participants to think deeply about the following questions:

  • Have you thought about how you can be a leader of transformation and not only a manager of turnaround?
  • Do you know what it takes to transform your approach to solving a problem?
  • Have you reflected on how you can think outside the box and create alternative business models?

The programme revolves around the theme of social innovation, but is also aligned with participants’ own interests and expertise. The aim is for participants to go back to their home organisations and contexts with new perspectives, tools and insights that will make them better leaders, and in turn enhance the impact of their organisations.

To boost the sharing experience, participants are paired up throughout the programme with their intercontinental peers.

This peer-led programme raises questions and contests alternatives through group and plenary interaction, and active exchange among high-level experts and leaders of institutions in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Topics on the agenda include:

  • Leadership – What it is, what is required and leadership styles
  • Tools leaders use to intervene and transform
  • Social innovation in policy and practice
  • How to evaluate impact
  • How to use the power of collaboration and levers of influence to develop capability to engage in social innovation
  • Using peer learning as a resource

Who is eligible?

This programme is open to those working for an EFC member organisation. We would encourage anyone who holds a mid- to senior-level position to apply. Applicants should be fully committed to actively participating and engaging in the programme and respecting the confidentiality of other participants. The applicant’s organisation should fully support the applicant’s total participation for the duration of the programme. As the programme is conducted in English, the ability to work in English is essential.

When and where?

The programme location alternates annually between Europe and China, with a new set of participants each year. Participants get the opportunity to visit locations within a two-hour travel range, as well as experience first-hand the work of philanthropy and NGOs locally.

Year 1 of the programme took place from 4-14 September 2016 in Brussels (Check out a short summary of the programme)

Year 2 will take place in Beijing from 10-20 September 2017

Year 3 is set to bring the programme back to Europe in 2018.


Participants are responsible for covering the costs of travel to/from the programme location. All other costs associated with the programme will be covered by the organisers.

The selection process

Each year the EFC and Stiftung Mercator make the selection of programme participants from the application pool. 

See list of participants in the 2016 edition


About the organisers

The programme is funded by Stiftung Mercator and led by the EFC in partnership with China Global Philanthropy Institute.

Stiftung Mercator, an EFC member, is a private and independent foundation. Through its work it strives for a society characterised by openness to the world, solidarity and equal opportunities.

The European Foundation Centre is an association of philanthropic organisations with members from across Europe and the globe.

China Global Philanthropy Institute is a joint initiative of five Chinese and American philanthropists and aims to help strengthen China’s charity sector and to encourage international cooperation.

More information

For more details and background on the programme, download the programme concept paper.

Please address any questions you may have to Marilena Vrana ( at the EFC.