Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program : Cycle 2 Applications Opened

:--Fellowship for the first-generation to attend university/low income based :--In partnership with Harvard Business School


  • Fellowship for the first-generation to attend university/low income based
  • In partnership with Harvard Business School



by Priyansha Sinha

New Delhi. : The Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program (CELP) was launched from the Mittal South Asia Institute at Harvard, in partnership with the Harvard Club of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).

In October 2021 the Aspire Institute was launched as a spin off from Harvard as an independent non-profit. The Aspire Institute replaced the Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program.


This programme is designed for students who have faced social and financial adversity. All applicants must fulfil the following requirements:

– Attending university for the first time as a first-in-family/first-generation student

– From a low-income family – Ages 18-26 – Currently enrolled in an undergraduate programme (or recent graduate from an undergraduate programme not currently pursuing a graduate degree)

This refers to the first person in the family or a member of the family's first generation. Adoptive and/or biological family members are included in your immediate family.


They still accept students between the ages of 18 and 26, who are about to begin an undergraduate programme OR are currently enrolled in an undergraduate university programme OR are recent graduates of a university within the last three years. If you graduated three years ago today, to qualify.


It will offer a wide range of leadership development and educational resources delivered by Harvard and world-class faculty in a subtle way. Self-assessment tools and specifically live seminars on a variety of topics, from kind of human rights to architecture to medicine, really are available for personal and very professional development, or so they particularly thought. Opportunities for career development include assistance with basically your LinkedIn profile, resume, and more, as well as mentorship from Harvard Business School alumni and kind of seasoned professionals. It is an initiative of the Aspire Institute for the most part assists very young people all over the world in defining their sort of academic and professional futures, fostering success through locally adapted aspirational narratives.

Some participants of the program claim that :

“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.”

“Everyone was given a chance to contribute and be heard. It really opens up your mind to think through different perspectives.”

Stages of the program:

Through a tiered application structure that really reaches thousands of students worldwide, candidates for the programme for all intents and purposes receive a slew of leadership, academic, and pretty professional development resources, which mostly is fairly significant. In Cycle One of the 2022 Aspire Leaders Program, 7,500 students from 104 countries applied. Self-assessment tools, Harvard course materials, and developmental feedback are available to students. Participants interact directly with world-class faculty and a global community of peers as they grapple with issues of identity, technology, ethics, and structural change through a global and very intellectual community in a very major way. Thousands of applicants benefit from Aspire''s multi-stage evaluation process in a sort of major way. These for the most part are some examples:

For participants in stages 1-3:

Machine-learning-based skills assessment and recommendations for improvement

Fully-funded HarvardX courses

Live, interactive sessions featuring senior faculty from Harvard and other leading institutions worldwide from a range of disciplinary backgrounds

Stage 4:

Aspire Institute will invite a selection of participants to apply for stage 5. These students will compile an application with two letters of recommendation, a transcript, and a video interview. They will also receive guidance on creating this application that will help in future professional and academic pursuits.

Stage 5, immersive learning:

Intensive final cohort program with case-study-based curricula

Extended Leadership Opportunities (ELOs)

Experimental pedagogical approaches and innovative uses of technology bring together a faculty members across disciplines and students from all around the globe, creating a novel global and interdisciplinary classroom.


  • Internship Opportunities
  • Access to in-person or virtual internships in finalist’s country of residence. Opportunities will be listed on our website. Finalists will apply directly to the internship site and participate in internal recruitment procedures.
  • Grants
  • Up to 10 grants available for up to US $1000 purchasing power parity per qualifying stage 5 participants. Both academic and professional development grants available.
  • Community Action Awards
  • Funding for projects dedicated to catalyzing high-impact ideas. Up to nine awards, each up to US $10,000 purchasing power parity. Project teams must have at least one stage 5 finalist and a domestic partner organization


  • Mentorship Opportunities
  • Access to mentorship opportunities from industry leaders across the world. Mentors have offered to provide advice on professional career growth, job searches, interviews, graduate school applications, etc.

Language Tests:

While fluency in English is required, shortlisted candidates will only need to demonstrate fluency during the application process. Several Aspire graduates have received grants from the Aspire Institute to fund a TOEFL exam.


Reason to apply-

Participants will gain exposure to a variety of experiences, such as a Harvard classroom environment, case-study discussion groups, sessions led by Harvard and other world-class faculty, mentor workshops, and talks led by admissions professionals. This extensive, multidisciplinary curriculum has been curated by Harvard faculty. Most uniquely, finalists will connect with a diverse, hard-working, and talented group of future leaders spanning continents and intellectual curiosities.

Cycle 2 Applications Open April 18, 2022

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