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exceptional leadership

Create impact and legacy for a better world

This is no ordinary leadership course: every session has been carefully customised to the requirements and the purpose of civil society and your role as a leader.


Our Masterclass Exceptional Leadership is designed for civil society leaders like you, to elevate your leadership to the next level by reflecting on your current practice and inspiring you to go further.


Our experienced facilitators and coaches, Sohini Paul and Joachim Schwarz, bring a wealth of knowledge from a decade of leadership at the Civil Society Academy. Drawing on their extensive work with thousands of civil society leaders globally, they have collaboratively crafted this exceptional course. Developed in partnership with thought leaders from the private sector and academia, the content is not only original but also meticulously tested. Inspired by influential leadership publications, including works by Stephen Covey, Tim Brown, and Frederic Laloux, this 2-module Masterclass ensures a comprehensive and impactful learning experience.


“Be the change you want to see in the world” - Mahatma Gandhi

  • This Masterclass takes your leadership to the next level – emphasizing a people-oriented, strategic, and value-based approach. As you adopt new habits and tools, the changes will be evident to you as well as your colleagues and partners.


“Start with the end in mind” - Stephen R. Covey

  • ​With its in-depth self-reflection, planning, and commitment building, this course will be the foundation for your personal growth and development for the next five to ten years.


“Leadership is a dance between poetry and plumbing.” 

  • We will help you to navigate your leadership challenges, increase the performance of your team and strengthen your role as a manager and team leader.


“Be inspired to inspire others.” 

  • This Masterclass will open your mind to rethink your organization’s culture, impact, and resources. It also offers many practical tools to navigate your organization into an impactful and sustainable future.


"Civil society is like a social fabric."

  • We provide you with a new and broad perspective on civil society, social change, and leadership. We help you locate yourself and your organization in the collective struggle towards a better society and a better world.



  • You will become part of an alumni network with like-minded civil society leaders.


  • You will learn and exchange with a group of 12-18 like-minded civil society leaders from around the world.

  • You will be constantly immersed in the learning experience: “there is no PowerPoint and no boring minute in this course” is what we often hear.

  • You will participate in role-plays, games, debates, fun exercises, and a variety of other participatory exercises to internalize your learnings and habits.

  • You will deep dive into critical leadership aspects, such as communication skills, team performance and organizational change.

  • We will visit organizations and talk to exceptional leaders during the residential workshops.

  • We organize the training in a tranquil and relaxing environment so you can completely focus on your learning, self-development, and have fun with your new peers.

  • We offer coaching sessions between the two modules, as coaching can substantially increase your envisaged changes in your leadership habits.



  • Deep dive into your leadership style, your values, talents, and your life purpose.

  • Develop seven leadership habits for exceptional civil society leaders, such as Think People or Strategic Leadership.

  • Improve your communication and coaching skills.

Team Leadership

  • Deep dive to analyze your team and how you lead or manage the team members.

  • Learn how to increase team performance through performance management, conflict resolution, and agile management systems.

  • Explore how to improve meetings and collective decision-making processes in teams.

Organizational Leadership

  • Analyze other civil society organizations through the Impact Navigator available under and its four spheres: purpose, culture, impact, and resources.

  • Learn practical ways to improve your organizational leadership, for instance through best practices in strategy processes, developing a theory of change, optimizing core processes, or attracting talents.

  • Deep dive into exploring your organization and potential change processes to make it more impactful and future-proof. 

Civil Society

  • Explore the roles and the ecosystem of civil society, and how it affects democracy and justice in your country.

  • Deep dive into selected civil society roles, such as advocacy and watchdog functions, organizing and empowering people, and social innovation.

  • Be inspired by 100+ case studies of civil society leaders, and by guest speakers and organisational visits, which will open new perspectives on how you can change the world.   

This Masterclass has been designed for civil society leaders across sectors. This includes organizational leaders, country directors, program and project managers, department heads, as well as young high-potentials and emerging community or civil society leaders. 

Training Fee

get 10% discount for groups of 4 or more

EUR 3250 p.P*

EUR 2925 p.P*

Use code groupdiscount at Check Out.

* MODE OF PAYMENT: Pay online now or pay later through direct bank transfer​

Schedule & Pricing

This Masterclass includes

92 hours of training, split into two modules of 12 days in total | Personal Coaching sessions | All training materials and readers | Accommodation costs as well as three meals per day, drinks, and snacks |  Exceptional Leadership Masterclass Certificate

Training Schedule 2024

Module ONE

Dates & Time: 2 - 7 July, 9 AM - 5 Pm

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Language: English

ModulE TWO

Dates and Time: 19 - 24 August, 9 AM - 5 PM

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Language: English

Application Deadline: 8 June 2024

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Joachim is passionate about social justice and co-creation. In 2014, he left his NGO career to embark on a mission to support like-minded civil society actors and social entrepreneurs in becoming more powerful and innovative. Together with his colleagues, he started the Civil Society Academy, which initially became active in India and then expanded to many parts of the world. In 2023, Joachim founded the Civil Society Academy International as a social enterprise in Germany. Joachim is an outstanding trainer and coach. He loves facilitating collective processes for organizations and networks that are fun and creative, yet focus on creating impact with disadvantaged groups. He excels in producing results in leadership, culture, innovation, and strategy. After more than 20 years in Africa and Asia, he is now based in Berlin.

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Sohini has a Social Science background with master degrees in Geography and Regional Planning. She is a certified Life and Leadership Coach. She has more than two decades of experience in the development sector supporting the work of many social change organizations on issues of local self-governance, right to information, and land rights. She has worked on capacity building of civil society organizations, from grassroots community groups to large networks. Sohini is passionate about civil society strengthening and holds space for those who are enthusiastic and ready to learn - this is reflected in her facilitation style.



John P. Nelson, Executive Director Indo-Global Social Service Society

"I highly recommend the course to everyone who is looking for an innovative change in leadership style."

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Tiringo K. Gabriel, Head of Programmes, Welthungerhilfe Ethiopia

“It was a great experience to meet and interact with leaders from different countries. Many thanks for the great facilitation and the unforgettable memories.”

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Ishret Wahid, Senior Coordinator, Care Bangladesh

“After the course, many things have changed in my life.”

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