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Principal’s Global Leadership Award

I want to bring leadership into the classroom. My students come from different disciplines and I want them all to walk out of my classroom with a mission to play a role in the world. If you see your place in your world, you will thrive in any social and cultural context.

Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin Vice President & Vice Principal (International)

King’s prides itself on creating graduates who are culturally competent, global in their outlook and always seeking to solve world problems.

The Principal's Global Leadership Award (PGLA) is a unique course that encourages students to engage with some of the most pressing problems of the twenty-first century and interrogate what it means to be a global leader. 

Each year we run the PGLA, offering our postgraduate students and some undergraduates the opportunity to learn from former world leaders, senior politicians, academics and policymakers. The award is an exceptional opportunity to study leadership as both theory and practice, and to learn about leadership from globally-renowned experts in the field.

Open to all postgraduate students, the PGLA aims to provide insights and conceptual understandings about global leadership through reflective learning, group discussions and talks by high-profile speakers. 

Previous leaders that have taught on the PGLA include former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard; former UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke; former UK Universities Minister Lord David Willetts; former Head of OFSTED Baroness Sally Morgan; Prof Eileen Baldry from the University of New South Wales (Sydney); and the first black Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Prof Ihron Rensburg.

Some PGLA students have also had the opportunity to meet visiting world leaders including former United Nations Envoys and Heads of State, such as Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, and José Ramos-Horta, former President of Timor Leste. Senior figures from King's also teach on the PGLA, including Principal and President Professor Ed Byrne, Vice President & Vice Principal (International) Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin, and Vice Principal (London) Baroness Deborah Bull.

Future tutors will be drawn from King's Global Leaders in Residence, including those from the African Leadership Centre and King's Policy Institute.

The Principal’s Global Leadership Award reflects King’s Vision 2029 in practice. 

Develop your leadership skills

Through the award, each student will have the chance to develop the leadership skills they will need to make the world a better place. 

'You really get to appreciate how these individuals who are or have been at the forefront of leadership practice have used some of those theories and concepts in solving real-life leadership challenges, so you’re really inspired by the examples and the experiences and your confidence in your own leadership abilities begin to grow.' – Stephen Adombire (Clinical Nursing MSc, 2018) speaking about his experience of the Principal’s Global Leadership Award.

 Hear Stephen Adombire speak about which leader he aspires to be and why.


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Enhance your learning experience

The award will enhance your learning and experience at King's and will prepare you to engage with the world's greatest challenges.

Being a part of the PGLA was an extremely valuable experience for me as I hope to lead global change in the future. I look forward to seeing how this course continues to bring students from all backgrounds together to discuss a common denominator that unites us all: the desire to lead collaborative teams to pursue positive global change. For an international university like King’s, a focus on understanding the theory and practice of leadership is essential to multiply the individual impact that we all hope to have in the world.’ – Joy Schaefer, Intelligence & International Security MA and PGLA student

Hear Joy Schaeffer speak about her experience on the Principal's Global Leadership Award.

Register your interest in the Principal's Global Leadership Award

020 7848 6144


Any King’s student on a postgraduate taught degree in any Faculty can apply for and take this module alongside their degree programme. For some students, this module may be available as an optional module for credit as part of your degree programme. You will know if this applies to your programme during registration.

The module aims to develop distinctive leadership skills in service to society, in a global context. Students reflect on their own leadership aims, identify the values that mean most to them as potential leaders, and work to put these values into practice.

Through case studies of leadership, selected readings and assessment tasks, students build a formidable understanding of leadership theory and practice.

The coursework includes a variety of exercises and invites students to work in a variety of formats. The result is a reflective portfolio that defines, analyses and evaluates leadership and demonstrates the students' evolving thoughts and feelings around leadership.

‘Our students should think, what problem can I contribute to solving and what solution can I bring?’
Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin, Vice President & Vice Principal (International)

> Interrogate what it means to be a global leader in the twenty-first century.
> Engage systematically and creatively with leadership theory and practice.
> Analyse and evaluate leadership as a social practice.
> Develop self-direction and act autonomously in planning and implementing leadership tasks.
> Show originality in tackling and solving leadership problems.
> Demonstrate a culturally competent view of assessing global challenges.

We would be delighted to hear from offer holders who may be interested in taking this course with us. Get in touch with us at to register your interest. We will send you an application that will consist of two questions for you to answer (response max. 250 words each).