<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=198501064942222&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">


Social Impact Leadership Program - Vietnam

Join a transformative leadership development program designed for social impact leaders tackling the complex challenges of poverty and inequality in Vietnam.


September 19, 2023

11 Weeks


Develop your leadership capacity to tackle the deep-rooted systemic challenges of economic inequality in Vietnam

The Social Impact Leadership Program, Vietnam is an 11-week hybrid leadership accelerator designed to equip you with the tools and framework needed to lead your organization well through uncertainty as you tackle complex challenges of poverty and economic inequality. Throughout the 11 weeks, you will have the opportunity to gain crucial adaptive leadership skills alongside a dedicated cohort through practical assignments, real-life case studies, weekly virtual learning labs, an in-person seminar, and consultation from seasoned experts.


Acumen has been changing the way the world tackles poverty for over 20 years. Over that time, we’ve gathered valuable insights and skills that we’ve taught and shared through our leadership programs around the world. We’re excited to make our top lessons for designing inclusive systems available specifically for social impact leaders in Vietnam.

This program facilitates deep introspection around your leadership purpose and journey, cohort building with like-minded leaders across Vietnam, and an exploration of leadership concepts that are especially useful for those trying to tackle the complex problems of poverty and inequality.

You’ll learn how to see a problem more clearly, understand how to engage powerful stakeholders, explore your personal philosophy on what it takes to build a good and just society, and more.

The experience is further enriched through a diverse cohort. You'll join leaders from the social enterprise, nonprofit, corporate, and public sectors to explore what it takes to build a more inclusive economy for your community in Vietnam.

The Leadership Accelerator Experience

  • Hybrid 11-week program with nine weekly virtual Learning Labs and one in-person event
  • Weekly consultations with peers or the facilitator
  • Weekly assignments to put your new learnings into practice 
  • Curated readings that cultivate a richer understanding of your social change work
  • Frameworks for leading social change and for holding values in tension
  • Reserved space for reflection and journaling your learnings

Learn How To

  • Understand your role as a social innovator by examining your identities, values, and choices that have shaped your current journey and cultivate a deeper understanding of yourself and your work in a broader context
  • Learn from Acumen’s flagship leadership curriculum developed from our multi-national Fellowship program
  • Improve your leadership capacity to innovate and drive change within your organization by practicing essential adaptive leadership skills
  • Gain diagnostic and decision-making methodologies to bridge opposing views and find new opportunities in opposing tensions
  • Apply new learnings from the program directly back to your work and community to further increase your impact
  • Join a diverse cohort and connect with like-minded social leaders driving social change in Vietnam

Identify your leadership gap

Diagnose your adaptive challenge, identify stakeholders and their priorities and learn how to move them towards your ideal.

Learn to navigate the grey

Manage the tension between your competing priorities and learn how to engage difficult stakeholders who benefit from the status quo.

Reflect on freedom, justice and equality

Study the work of great thinkers and question your assumptions and approach to building a more equitable economy.

Join A Lasting Community

Build meaningful relationships with cohort members that are based on shared values and a common purpose.

Eligibility Requirements

Participants come from all walks of life. They are building radical new solutions that ensure economic prosperity is shared by all. Solutions range across new business models that serve the poor, corporate initiatives to disrupt traditional industries, innovative public sector programs, and nonprofit livelihood solutions.

Participants are typically on one of the following paths:

  • Social Entrepreneur: Scaling innovative business models that use market-based solutions to tackle poverty and inequality
  • Public Sector Leader: Leveraging the government machinery to create a more inclusive economy
  • Nonprofit Leader: Building solutions to ensure those most in need are equitably included in the economy
  • Corporate Intrapreneur: Driving initiatives within large corporations to create inclusive and sustainable corporations

To be eligible for this program, you should:

  • Demonstrate a long term commitment to tackling issues related to poverty and economic inequality in Vietnam, including 5+ years of work experience in the sector
  • Be in a position of leadership where you work; the capacity to influence change
  • Demonstrate self-awareness and the ability to challenge yourself to grow as a leader
  • Have access to consistent/adequate telephone and internet coverage so that you can actively participate in an online learning environment
  • Have the ability to read and write texts of medium complexity in English and basic handling of social platforms (e.g. Whatsapp)
  • Available and willing to travel for a 3 day event during the week commencing 27th November (The location will be in Vietnam and travel and accommodation costs will be covered. Exact details will be communicated at the offer stage to selected participants)

Key Dates

Application Close

July 7th, 2023

Virtual Leadership Program

September - November 2023

In-person Seminar and Closing session

November 27-30, 2023

Program Curriculum

Our core curriculum is made up of three key components:

1. Adaptive Leadership
Based on the work of Ron Heifitz, Adaptive Leadership is a practical leadership framework that helps organizations and individuals adapt and thrive in challenging environments. The content supports your ability, both individually and collectively, to catalyze and embrace the gradual and meaningful process of creating change.

2. Managing Polarities
Developed by Barry Johnson, Polarity Management empowers you to embrace competing goals and navigate the tensions between them, a crucial skill in an increasingly interconnected world. 

3. Good Society Readings
The Good Society Readings explore the meaning of a just society and the moral and historical foundation of social change through a series of curated readings by thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Nelson Mandela. You’ll reflect on core human values, seek common ground, and cultivate a richer understanding of your work by situating it in a broader historical context.

Time Commitment and Course Access

You should expect to spend at least 8 hours per week dedicated to this program. The learning experience is mainly online and includes weekly individual work, peer discussions, and facilitator-led full cohort synchronous sessions. For the final week, participants will need to commit to 3 full days together. 

Individual Pre-Work - 2 hours / week (own time)
Learn at your own pace with tutorials featuring leadership frameworks and readings to help cultivate a richer understanding of social change work in a broader historical context.

Partner Discussions - 1-2 hours / week (virtual)
Participants will be strategically paired with other cohort members. Groups will meet to go deeper into their readings, give feedback on assignments, and reflect on their leadership journey.

Learning Lab - 2.5 hours / week (virtual)
Join your cohort in a live interactive session on a specific facet of leadership conducted by a facilitator.

Post-work - 1.5 hour / week (own time)
After each Learning Lab, you will reflect on key takeaways and synthesize learnings based on specific practices of moral leadership.


After participants complete the program they join The Foundry, a global community designed to increase the impact of 1300+ highly effective social innovators as they grow and scale solutions to poverty and build a world based on dignity. Foundry members are a community of like-minded peers from diverse backgrounds who are working across sectors and around the world to tackle the most difficult challenges of our time. They are leaders committed to sharing ideas and experiences, and as Foundry members they gain life-long accompaniment on their journey to creating social change.  

Foundry members gain exclusive access to:

  • Community: A diverse regional and global community of social innovators
  • Early-stage funding: Early-stage catalytic capital through Acumen Angels
  • Mentoring: Expert coaching and consulting from our partners 
  • Visibility: Opportunities to reach more ideal customers, talent, and funders
  • Learning Hub and Training: Revisit concepts covered through your leadership program and refresh your learning. Access additional tools of business to grow and scale your organization.


Module 1

Who’s in This Journey with Me?

  • Examine your identities, values, and choices that have shaped your journey till now.
  • Connect with peers and begin to build trust and togetherness for the journey ahead

Module 2

How do we Move Beyond an ‘Either/Or’? (1)

  • Identify moments when values are in tension
  • Diagnose a polarity and learn how to leverage it in service of a greater purpose
  • Increase your ability to engage in difficult conversations

Module 3

How do we Move Beyond an ‘Either/Or’? (2)

  • Receive coaching and feedback on your application of the polarity management framework.
  • Practice using a “both/and” mindset in your leadership work.

Module 4

What is the Work of Leadership?

  • Understand the concept of "getting on the balcony" and how it relates to the exercise of adaptive leadership.
  • Distinguish between technical and adaptive work when leading change.
  • Identify and examine your own leadership challenge.

Module 5

How Do We Mobilize People Around An Adaptive Challenge?

  • Understand why people support, resist, benefit, or lose when you lead adaptive change.
  • Define stakeholders and factions critical to your adaptive challenge.
  • Understand how discomfort can be a proxy for progress towards change.

Module 6

What is Our Leadership Choice?

  • Expand and apply your understanding of leadership and authority.
  • Define action steps to make progress on your leadership challenge with the support of your peers.

Module 7

How Do We Adapt Ourselves to Lead Adaptively?

  • Take your first steps towards leading adaptively.
  • Receive coaching and support on your Adaptive Leadership journey.  

Module 8

How Do We Put Humanity at the Center of Our Work?

  • Think deeply and ask critical questions about the ideas of humanity and universal dignity.

Module 9

What is Our Role in the Systems We Seek to Change?

  • Examine the role that you play in the system you seek to change.

Module 10

So, Are You Ready to Lead? Preparing For Our In-Person Seminar

  • Meet with your cohort in-person to reflect on your leadership journeys and celebrate the end of the accelerator experience.
  • Hold conversations deepen your understanding of the following themes and their application to your work: 
    • The role of identities in enabling us to connect across lines of difference
    • The nature of humanity and the systems needed for humans to flourish
    • What our systems and communities could look like if we redefine our sense of responsibility.
  • Learn about your next steps as members of the Acumen Academy Foundry and as a cohort, plan how you will continue to support each other and the wider community. 

Personally, I've uncovered—or more accurately, "re-uncovered" —my why and how my identity plays a role in my leadership and my goals. It's given me a renewed sense of purpose.
Adrian Immanuel Bonifacio, ARK - Advancement for Rural Kids
As much as this course was about learning new leadership capabilities that I didn't know of, it was also just as useful in learning about the strengths in the ones that I already have.
Toan Dang, UNESCO Bangkok
Being accompanied by Acumen Academy really brings a lot of great values to me on my journey of becoming more mature in my leadership style and developing a positive influence for the community.
Cat Tuong Huyen, Vietseeds Foundation
Logo for landing page icw (1)


When and Where


What are the program dates?

The program runs from September to November 2023. Learning Lab sessions are held early afternoon (GMT+7)  every Tuesday beginning September 19th to November 14th, 2023. The in person seminar will be over 3 days during the week commencing November 27th, 2023.

Do I need to live in Vietnam?

You do not need to have Vietnamese nationality to apply but you need to be primarily operating and making an impact in Vietnam. You need to be able to participate in the virtual sessions which will be in the afternoon GMT+7 and attend the in person seminar in Vietnam at the end of November. 

Application Process


My application last year was not successful, can I re-apply for the program this year?

Yes, you are welcome to re-apply for the program this year. We suggest you focus on including what you have achieved since you previously submitted an application.  

I just submitted an application. What happens next?

All applicants should receive an automated confirmation message upon submission of the application. The application review process will take a couple of months. The Accelerator Team will contact all applicants regarding their status by email, you should hear whether you have been selected for the next stage of applications by the end of July.

How are participants selected?

We are looking for participants who (1) can participate in a program conducted in English and engage in an online learning environment, (2) are eager to reflect on and grow their leadership capabilities, (3) demonstrate a strong commitment to and track record driving social impact, and (4) are in a position to influence their group, organization, initiative, or community to lead change. We will review applications on a rolling basis and invite finalists for a 45-minute virtual interview.



Do I need to pay for the program?  What are the costs?

 There are no required costs to selected participants. Acumen will cover the travel and accommodation costs as part of the in person event.

What level of English do I need?

All sessions, assignments, and communications are conducted in English. An intermediate proficiency in English is a requirement to ensure you are able to give and get the most from this experience. That involves being able to communicate verbally, understand presentations, and read and write texts of medium complexity in English.

What if I don’t have a stable internet connection where I live?

Since the program is fully virtual, access to reliable internet coverage is fundamental to engage in the weekly online sessions, complete assignments in between the sessions, and connect with your peers. If this is a limitation to your full participation, there may be limited funds to cover costs of accessing a stable internet connection provided on a case-by-case basis.

What are the academic qualifications for the Leadership Accelerator?

There are no specific academic requirements. Some participants have no formal education, others have degrees from global institutions.

About Acumen Academy

Acumen Academy is the world’s school for social change. Our mission is to unleash a new generation of social innovators and leaders with the character and competence to build a more just, inclusive and sustainable world. Blending the best of online and offline learning, we offer anyone, anywhere access to the practical tools, practices, resources and supportive community they need to achieve positive social change. The Acumen Academy community represents a new generation of social innovators and leaders committed to doing what’s right in a world that loves easy.

Learn more at www.acumenacademy.org.


About Fulbright University Vietnam

Fulbright University Vietnam is Vietnam’s first independent, not-for-profit, liberal arts university. We are an expanding international team of educational innovators, with deep roots in Vietnam, strong political and financial backing, and connections to educational institutions around the world.

Fulbright University Vietnam believes in the power of collaboration, transdisciplinary thinking, and risk-taking, and understands that effective education requires putting students at its center. Globally integrated but deeply embedded in Vietnamese society, Fulbright is dedicated to providing a world-class education, utilizing the latest advancements in institutional design, teaching, learning, technology and other fields to create an institution that is both innovative and globally relevant. Importantly, Fulbright is committed to serving Vietnamese society through rigorous research and responsible civic engagement.

Learn more at www.fulbright.edu.vn