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PFF Community Leadership Program


**Application Deadline is Monday, February 24, 2014** 


Rebecca Gibbons in Nepal


Read about the 2013 Fellows



  • Must be between 18-29 years of age
  • Must be a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent Resident
  • Must be a full-time Queen’s undergraduate final year student, or a Master’s graduate student applying for a sabbatical year or a post-graduation project
  • Must be in good academic standing
  • Must have an innovative project idea, and the necessary adaptation skills, that will promote positive and on-going change in an international location with demonstrated need


Queen’s University has identified internationalization as a key focus for the development of its academic and co-curricular programs. The Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) is a recognized leader across Canada in emergency out-of-country support for students, and through the development of competencies necessary for international and intercultural connections.

QUIC is pleased to offer the PFF Community Leadership Program, funded by the Pathy Family Foundation, a private family foundation which invests in leadership and education initiatives.  This is a four-year program (2010-2014) for undergraduate or graduate Queen’s students to undertake up to 10 fellowships of eight-twelve months. For the 2013-14 year, up to 2 fellowships will be chosen.The program seeks to develop leadership skills with projects that take place in international locations. The objectives of the PFF Community Leadership Program are:

  • To provide successful candidates with a life-changing experience of social value
  • To create positive, sustainable change to communities in need in international locations

QUIC will assist students to identify, plan and deliver these projects in conjunction with university academic departments and service units QUIC will offer orientation, training programs, in-field and re-entry support to enhance the health and safety of the students participating in the program.  The Fellows chosen for this program will return to participate in campus activities with the aim of deepening Queen’s understanding of the social and cultural context of the communities within which the projects were undertaken.

Examples of Past Projects

  • Establishing a micro-credit institution
  • Developing waste water services
  • Building an eco-tourism network
  • Supporting a women’s cooperative with occupational therapy skills
  • Creating a community garden and nutrition program
  • Designing peer-education workshops on reproductive health

Program Details

The Fellowship value will be a maximum of $20,000 for an eight-month project, or $30,000 for a twelve-month project, based upon the Fellow’s proposed budget and project length. Proposed projects should contribute towards positive change to an international  community in demonstrated need. Proposed projects must be feasible within the proposed time, budget, goals and knowledge/skills of the Fellow, all of which must be outlined in the application.

Projects may vary in scope from, for example, creating a sports or arts school program to conducting health promotion work.  It is essential that the countries where all projects take place be DFAIT warning free (at levels 1 or 2).  If the proposed project community will be a remote setting far from partner support services, it is recommended that two students go to the same location for health and safety reasons.  However, if two students go together, it will be considered a joint project and they will only receive one fellowship award for the proposed project.

The Selection Committee will give special consideration to innovative and entrepreneurial projects of social and intercultural significance. It is essential that applications are focused on the potential on-going sustainability of the project, whether by extension of the project or by perceived sustainable change in the community, beyond the life of the Fellowship.  The projects will not require direct affiliation with a sponsoring organization, although support and collaboration with a local partner (e.g. a non-profit organization or local business) is essential.  The more the applicant demonstrates support and direct collaboration from an organization, the stronger the application will be.

It is essential that pro-active, leadership-oriented applicants have the appropriate training, experience and adaptability skills to be able to implement an effective project, and be prepared to cope in potentially challenging, isolated contexts. Demonstrated international experience and familiarity with cross-cultural issues will be considered an asset.  Applicants should preferably also have had previous experience in volunteer/service-learning opportunities, and be familiar or intend to gain familiarity with the spoken language of the host country.

Program FAQS

What sort of project could I do?

We encourage you to be creative and innovative with your project. You can do your project on anything, as long as it’s feasible and meets the specific criteria outlined in the application information page. A demonstrated community need must be fulfilled, and it is important that the project has potential for on-going sustainability beyond the life of the fellowship. Some examples of past project are:

• Establishing a micro-credit institution

• Developing waste water services

• Building an eco-tourism network

• Supporting a women’s cooperative with occupational therapy skills

• Creating a community garden and nutrition program

• Designing peer-education workshops on reproductive health

You may wish to discuss your potential project with the Education Abroad Advisor. Please e-mail if you would like to schedule an appointment.

Who is administering the fellowship program?

The Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) is administering the fellowship program. QUIC will be the point of contact for questions, and will give guidance on potential projects. You must submit your application to QUIC. QUIC will also provide the necessary support services prior to departure, as well as maintaining contact with the fellows while abroad on project and upon their return to Canada. Please address all questions to the Education Abroad Advisor at

I graduated from my undergraduate degree last year. Am I still eligible to apply for the PFF Community Leadership Program?

For the 2013-2014 application year, you must be a full-time Queen’s undergraduate final year student(who will graduate in fall 2012, winter 2013 or spring/summer 2013), or a Master’s graduate student applying for a sabbatical year or a post-graduation project.

I am currently doing graduate studies and I would like to put my project research towards my thesis. Can I do this?

The award is not intended to be used as research funding for students, and is not open to PhD students.   The experience of the PFF Community Leadership Program can relate to a student’s research topic, but should not be planned as their sole research component.   The intention is to focus on creating action-based, social change in a community and not on academic research.

I am not able to speak the language of the country where my project would take place. Am I eligible to apply?

It is not mandatory to speak the language of the country to apply. However, applicants who do speak or display a strong willingness and plan to learn the language of the host country will have an advantage.  You must definitely be able to demonstrate strong communication skills in order to effectively connect with community members and/or local partners. You will be required to integrate into the community and therefore must indicate that your project will not be disadvantaged by the language barrier. Prior experience or travel in the country where the project will take place, or if you have lived in a similar situation in another country may be beneficial. Language training in-country and prior to departure should be an important consideration. Translators/interpreters can also be used on project, but appropriate costs must be allocated in your detailed budget outline.

Can my project take place in Canada?

No, the project must take place internationally. Canadian locations will not be considered for the fellowship program.

Does my project have to take place in a developing country?

The project has to take place in an international location, but is not limited to a developing country. However, the fellowship program requires that a specific need in the community of choice must be clearly identified. The country location must be at DFAIT levels 1 or 2.

How long can the project be?

The minimal time spent on a project is 8 months and the maximum is 12 months. The fellow must spend the entire project time in the field.

What is the value of the fellowship?

Applicants may request funding of up to $30 000 for a 12 month fellowship, and up to $20 000 for an 8 month Fellowship, and a pro-rated amount depending on the exact intended length of time spent working full-time on the  project. Length of the fellowship increases if vacation is taken.

What costs will be covered?

Program funding is intended to cover both personal and project expenses. Applicants are asked in their application to create a preliminary detailed breakdown of the funds and how they will be allocated. The project’s costs must be both realistic for the timeframe and feasible to achieve.  Specific personal costs that are requested in the budget will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

How will I receive the funds?

QUIC will disburse the budget amount to the Fellows in two installments: before the Fellows leave, and then at the half-way point of their project following the submission of a half-way report.

When does my project have to start?

The fellows are expected to depart for their project within 6 months of receving notice that a fellowship has been awarded..

My professor has recommended I use this funding to work on one of his projects. Is this feasible?

The intention of the fellowship program is for students to develop their own global leadership skills by identifying a need in a community. Collaboration and guidance from professors may be helpful, but the selection committee is looking for student creativity and entrepreneurial projects that applicants are the lead in developing.  The funding must not be put towards an already-existing project.

I would like to apply to do a project with a friend. Is this possible?

Yes, you may apply with a friend. However, it will be considered a joint project and you would only receive one fellowship award for the proposed project. For remote project locations, it is recommended that two students travel to the community together for health and safety reasons.   When you are considering applying with a friend, it is recommended that you take into consideration what would happen should one of the two applicants pull out of the application.

Do I need a local partner to undertake a project?

The project does not require affiliation with a sponsoring or partner organization, although such a relationship will be highly encouraged. Having a secured partnership prior to departure will help you in the project development stage and act as a key contact for local communication during the project’s progression. Having a partnership in-country will also likely impact upon the sustainability of a project as there will still be people/ resources in the community that can ensure the project’s goal will be on-going.

What do you mean by “sustainable”?

Sustainability means that the project will have the potential to continue after the fellow has left the project site. Working in collaboration with a local organization or local partner is an essential component that can help to ensure your project’s goal will continue after the 8 or 12 months are over.

How can I apply?

Applicants apply to QUIC by completing the required forms.

Applicants will have to submit an Application Form, a Budget Form, a Feasibility Evaluation Form, a Letter from their Faculty confirming good academic standing and status of studies, a Letter of Support, an updated Resume (maximum 3 pages), a 3-minute application video, and 2 Recommendation Letters (minimum).

Who should write the reference and feasibility letters?

Two reference letters (minimum) will be required, one of which must be an academic reference. The feasibility evaluation form can be written by the same academic referee or another academic in the specific field of the project. Please note that the feasibility form should be written by a third party who is not connected with the organization with which you intend to work.

How do I prove that I am in good academic standing?

You are required to submit a letter from your Faculty confirming good academic standing and status of studies.

On what basis will I be evaluated by the Selection Committee?

The selection committee will give special consideration to innovative and entrepreneurial projects of social and intercultural significance. Students should show their eagerness to contribute to positive change in international communities through project work and personal training. Demonstrated international experience and familiarity with cross-cultural issues and also having previous experience in volunteer/service-learning opportunities will be considered an asset. It is also essential that applicants have the appropriate training/experience to be able to implement an effective project.  The project will need to be feasible and have realistic goals. Potential sustainability of the project is also a requirement.

When will I know if I have been selected?

You will receive notice from QUIC if you have been selected for a pre-interview by the second week of March.  Interviews with the Selection Committee are scheduled to run in late March, and a final announcement will be made by the end of March or early April.

What support will I receive from QUIC?

QUIC will provide the necessary support services required to assist applicants to identify and plan projects.  QUIC will also give pre-departure orientations, training programs, in-field and re-entry support that will enhance the health and safety of the fellows participating in the program.  Part of this support will be maintaining contact with the Fellows while in the field to monitor their project progress and offering support if any personal/emotional challenges arise.

What happens if I realize I need to alter my budget/project activities or goals when I am in the field?

Fellows will need to be in contact with QUIC with a detailed explanation and breakdown of changes to budgets. It is normal to have changes once in the field. Fellows just need to keep QUIC up-to-date, and discuss and proposed changes with QUIC.

Will my project be evaluated and continue to be monitored after my project has been completed?

PFF and QUIC encourage all fellows to create long-lasting connections with the communities and projects with which they work.  We require that all fellows write half-way and end-of-fellowship reports, including detailed budget breakdowns.  Questions may be raised by PFF or QUIC regarding project details throughout the project.  Monthly connections are also made by QUIC with fellows throughout the duration of the fellowships, and fellows are required to write frequent blog entries outlining project progress.

However, neither PFF nor QUIC will conduct project evaluation or follow-up once the project has been completed.

Who do I contact if I have questions or want some advice?

If you have questions or would like to make an appointment to learn more about the program, you can e-mail the Education Abroad Advisor, Laura Marchese-Smith, or call 613-533-2604.

What does PFF stand for?

PFF stands for the Pathy Family Foundation. The Pathy Family Foundation is a private family foundation based in Montreal, which helps disadvantaged people meet their basic needs and assists them in developing and sustaining a better quality of life.  In funding this fellowship, the Foundation aims to achieve these goals by investing in leadership and educational initiatives. PFF does not accept unsolicited requests.


Questions? Contact Us

If you have questions about the PFF Community Leadership Program, would like to learn more about the program, or need guidance in creating your application, the Education Abroad Advisor, Laura Marchese-Smith, is happy to meet with you. Please email or call 613-533-2604 to schedule an appointment.