A snapshot of leadership development in the UK refugee and migration sector

The findings and recommendations from a scoping review of leadership development in the refugee and migration sector in the UK (2022)

Migration Exchange


Migration Exchange is pleased to publish this report to contribute to an ongoing conversation about leadership, equity, sustainability and system change in the UK refugee and migration field. This conversation is critical at a time when many people who move to the UK for protection, work, love and/or a better future face extreme pressure, hostility and violence.

Leadership development in the charity sector happens because of the passion, wisdom, generosity and thoughtfulness of many people who are pushing for positive change and dignity for all, regardless of their immigration status. Many people who support the leadership journeys of others have personal experience of being forcibly displaced or rebuilding their lives in a new country. Many are performing these roles without pay, in their own time and on top of other work.

This report includes learning from the sector leadership programme Leading Beyond Borders delivered by Clore Social Leadership and the Centre for Knowledge Equity. We’re grateful to everyone who made that programme a success at such a challenging time.

This report highlights why leadership development is so important, and an essential part of social change work. It also signals the threat to the sector presented by burnout and structural inequalities. It summarises suggestions from people working in the sector on ways to sustain and strengthen leadership development, to benefit individuals, organisations and our whole sector. Acting on these suggestions will help to deepen and accelerate positive work that is already happening.

By emphasising the need for a collective and systemic approach to leadership development, and changes to funding practice, we hope this report sparks further action and collaboration.

Anna Camilleri, Li-En Yapp and Sarah Cutler

Migration Exchange, November 2022


Migration Exchange would like to specifically thank Dylan Fotoohi, who was instrumental in this piece of work, and Luljeta Nuzi of Shpresa for her leadership and strength.

We are extremely grateful to the steering group that helped to guide and shape our approach to the topic of leadership development, and to Clore Social Leadership and the Centre for Knowledge Equity for designing and delivering the Leading Beyond Borders programme. We are also very grateful to each individual who was interviewed or participated in the community of practice sessions for this scoping exercise.

We would like to thank our funders for supporting our work: AB Charitable Trust, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Comic Relief, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Migration Foundation (Metropolitan Housing Trust), Oak Foundation, Social Change Initiative, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Trust for London, and Unbound Philanthropy.



A snapshot of leadership development in the UK refugee and migration sector- Full Report

A snapshot of leadership development in the UK refugee and migration sector- Executive Summary