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  1. With the suspension of issuance of visa to people traveling from China or its SARs to the Philippines being in force, there might be a possibility that the LDP in Manila may be substituted by Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. A final decision will be announced by end of March. (published on February 25, 2020)
  2. Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the LDP 2020 will be run in two destinations (Manila and Phnom Penh) only. The programme dates will also be revised to June 8-26, 2020 accordingly.


In 2020, HKU will once again team up with Common Purpose, a global leadership development organization that runs programmes all over the world to inspire and equip people to work across boundaries.

The next HKU-Common Purpose Leadership Development Programme will launch in May 2020. Most of the work will take place in Manila and Phnom Penh in June 2020. At HKU, the programme will be supported by the Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Centre. The programme will enable 90 HKU students to:

  • work in groups of 10 across boundaries
  • devise, plan and implement group projects (Project brief in 2017)
  • gain access to leading organizations in the host destinations
  • boost their cultural intelligence
  • develop their leadership skills
  • learn about the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Period: 3 weeks in June 2020, with pre- and post-trip activities starting in May 2020 and lasting until October 2020

View past photos albums and videos by clicking on the links below:

Official Launch

March 15-16, 2019

Evening reception and full-day workshop with briefing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and small group conversations with Hong Kong-based leaders who are from – or have extensive experience of – Bangalore/Manila/Shanghai/Yangon, to prepare for the immersion experience in June.

Recap on Past Events

Joined by some 100 participants including guest speakers who are leaders from different industries and sectors, mentors who are alumni of the University and participating students from HKU, the HKU-Common Purpose Leadership Development Programme 2017 Launch Event was successfully held during March 15-16, 2017.
Event Album
Event Album
Event Article
Event Article
Photo album
Event Video

E-learning Platform and Cultural Intelligence Online Module

May 2020

Cultural Intelligence – the leadership approach that underpins the programme; ‘Power Dynamic’ – the Common Purpose signature technique which empowers systematic mapping out of which organizations and individuals hold power and influence over whom and how.


June 8 – 26, 2020

Project generation, development and implementation, framed around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Regular contact with Mentors, and engagement with senior leaders and stakeholders from Aboitiz Foundation, Civil Service Commission, Pifzer Philippines Foundation, Shell, Manila Water Foundation, Asian Development Bank, Coca Cola Foundation Philippines, AC Energy Holdings. Details at

Jamboree at HKU

October 2019

Reflection and experience sharing.


Participants will be responsible for the airfare, insurance, visa and in-country costs. They will receive financial sponsorship (HK$4,000) from the Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Centre.

Who Can Apply?

LDP is designed primarily for undergraduate students. LDP will host 90 participants, 45 each in Manila and Phnom Penh.


You may choose to take part in the programme as a general participant or a student coordinator. Twelve students will be selected to serve as student coordinators, one for each group, to ensure effective communication and cooperation within the group. The selected students will receive an award to support their participation in LDP. The student coordinators are expected to undertake the following roles:

  • to create a warm and welcoming learning environment by acting as a peer mentor, role model, and leader
  • to ensure that groups maintain and uphold behaviours as expected by HKU
  • to ensure that the group stay in constant communication and keep in mind safety measures while travelling outside programme hours
  • to make timely communication with the Common Purpose staff team if there are any concerns on health, stress, programme related issues etc.

Application Process

The application process is quite extended because there has to be sufficient time first to select participants, second to enable all selected participants to apply for a tourist visa in the host destinations, and third to allow all participants to make transportation arrangements. These are the major steps:

November 4, 2019 – February 28, 2020 (noon)Application
March, 2020Interviews (face-to-face or Skype)
Mid-March 2020Notification of application results
Late March 2020Participants to submit signed “Notice of Acceptance” & commit to LDP.
Mid- to late May 2020Official launch of leadership development workshop
June 8-26, 2020Overseas leadership development programme
October 2020One-day leadership development event for reflection and experience sharing

Apply Online

Apply here.

Pre-departure Information

Health-related Advice:

Participants of the HKU-Common Purpose Leadership Development Programme travelling to Manila and Phnom Penh are advised:

  1. To take note of information on Hepatitis A, Typhoid, anti-mosquito measures and food hygiene, as follows:
  2. To consider getting vaccination (please book at least 6 weeks before departure):
  3. To bring along medicines e.g. purchase travel pack and first aid kit at UHS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How is students’ safety in the host destination ensured?
Common Purpose always conducts a Risk Assessment for the location of their programmes to ensure the safety of both students and staff during programme hours. With the help of their Global Risk and Security Advisor, Mike Martin, Common Purpose ensures that they have the necessary contacts and preparations in place to deal with any identified potential risks. After the programme hours, the University has chaperones who will support participants to/from the accommodation and venue locations in Manila and Phnom Penh.

Q2. What’s the time commitment required from students before and after the trip?
Participants are asked to commit to the full duration of each programme day:

  • The Launch: Mid- to late May 2020 via online platform
  • The Online Learning Platform: approx. 6 hours in total in late May 2020
  • The Immersion and Project Implementation: approx. 9.00am – 5.30pm on 8th – 26th June, 2020
  • The Jamboree: 9.00am – 5.30pm, 1 day during HKU Reading Week October 2020

Q3. Could students choose or decline meeting and working with any organisations?
During the Immersion between 8 and 26 June, participants will get a large number of opportunities to meet with various speakers and organisations. In many, but not all, cases, they will be able to choose where they visit.

Q4. Is there any project example to illustrate what students would do?
Participants will at the beginning of the programme be provided with examples of what has been done in the past relating to previous Challenges that Common Purpose has run. For those interested in reading more about such examples, they can find stories on what students have done following a Common Purpose programme by clicking here and here.

Q5. What kind of students is most suitable for joining the programme?
For students looking to develop your skills and cultural intelligence, to change the world and solve complex problems, to develop and grow their network, and to build their CV, then this programme is the right fit for them. The programme looks for undergraduate university students of all genders and ages, from all backgrounds, fields and levels of study.

About Common Purpose (
Founded in 1989, Common Purpose is a leadership development organization that specializes in cross-boundary leadership. It is runs programmes in over 70 cities worldwide, with over 4,000 participants becoming Common Purpose Alumni every year. Common Purpose leadership development programmes aim to inspire and equip participants to work across boundaries, enabling them to solve complex problems in organizations and in society.
Common Purpose’s extensive alumni network across the Asia Pacific region enables access at senior levels of organizations, large and small, across the public, private and NGO sectors.

Common Purpose partners with world-class universities and runs leadership programmes for their students, including the top 30 universities globally:
Harvard | Oxford | National University of Singapore | University of Nairobi | University of the Witwatersrand | University College London | IIT Bombay | New York University | King’s College London | Edinburgh | University of Chicago | IIM Bangalore | University of Johannesburg

Common Purpose partners with organizations in the field of student leadership, including:

Fulbright | AIESEC | National Youth Council of Singapore | All-China Youth Federation | China Youth Daily | Commonwealth Youth New Zealand