Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI)

A collaborative program of Alternate ROOTS, First Peoples Fund, National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) and PA’I Foundation. 


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Program Dates:

March 22 - 28, 2017 in Mississippi
September 13 - 19, 2017 in Lakota Territory
February 28 - March 6, 2018 


Deadline to Apply:



Information and Applicant Support Calls:



Consult the ILI Guidelines and Submittable Online Application utilizing the menu to the right.



We are excited to release the guidelines and application information for the first cohort of the Intercultural Leadership Institute, a collaborative program of Alternate ROOTS, First Peoples Fund, National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) and PA’I Foundation.


The Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI) is a year-long rigorous personal and leadership development program for artists, culture bearers and other arts professionals.  With the support of numerous colleagues, participants, and allies throughout the arts & culture field, we hosted a pilot to test the underlying concepts of ILI in the fall of 2015 and are now accepting applications for the first ILI cohort which will begin in 2017.


 The inspiration to create ILI came from many sources.  A prominent driver was our own experience as leaders within the arts and culture field who have participated in numerous programs to support our personal and professional development.  Most of these programs provided important skills, connections and capacity for us and our organizations.  We also recognized, however, that the programs largely reinforced dominant cultural norms, modes of learning, ways of being and interacting that at times were out of sync with our commitment to cultural equity and to change-making in and with our communities.


As we grew in our own leadership and built trust and understanding together over time, we developed a shared analysis of the need for a leadership program of, by and for the artists and culture bearers in our communities. We spent many years discussing the concept among ourselves and with a wide range of allies who have helped to shape the incubation of ILI leading into last year’s 5-day pilot experience with more than 40 participants, advisors and faculty and dozens of community members in San Antonio who hosted and supported us.


 In defining this collaborative program as an “Intercultural Leadership Institute,” we are making an important distinction.  Cross-cultural approaches emphasize comparing and contrasting two or more distinct cultures. Inter-cultural approaches, on the other hand, stress the shared grooves of social memory, co-habitation and mutual accountability at the same time as they allow us to challenge dominant norms as well as honor, empower and find solidarity in the differences of our histories, traditions, identities, vocabularies and more.


We believe an intercultural approach to change-making and developing leaders within the arts and culture field is critical to respond effectively to the significant shifts that are underway in nearly every facet of our society, politics, environment and economy at the local, national and global levels.  We have created ILI to foster and support intercultural leaders throughout our communities as well as to promote a shift in the broader arts & cultural field toward greater intercultural awareness, resourcing and action.



At the time an application is submitted, the applicant must be an artist, culture bearer, arts professional and/or administrator. Successful applicants will demonstrate strong leadership potential within the field of arts and culture as well as a deep commitment to community, social change and/or cultural equity. The program will be rigorous and will require commitment to attend three 5-day in-person convenings as well as participation in online sessions, additional reading, peer interaction and other engagement over the course of a one-year period from March 2017 to March 2018.  All program costs including accommodation and travel will be covered for program participants by ILI and our funding partners.



Complete applications must be submitted online no later than Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. central. A complete application includes an Online Profile, Narrative or Audio/Video Essay & optional Work Sample . For more information consult the links provided for the Guidelines and the Submission Online Application .



If you would like to participate in informational calls about ILI to get support with your application or address general questions about the program, there are two conference calls planned to support potential applicants: 


To receive the call-in information for these calls, please send an e-mail to  If you have specific questions to address on the call, please note those in your e-mail.




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Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in community, place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression – everywhere.


First Peoples Fund


First Peoples Fund mission is to honor and support the Collective Spirit of First Peoples artists and culture bearers.  We accomplish this by providing tools, resources and a voice to Indigenous artists who share their inspiration, wisdom, knowledge and gifts with their communities.


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National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), is the nation's leading nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to the promotion, advancement, development, and cultivation of the Latino arts field. In this capacity, NALAC stimulates and facilitates intergenerational dialogues among disciplines, languages, and traditional and contemporary expressions.


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PA‘I Foundation, organized in 2001, preserves and perpetuates Hawaiian cultural traditions for future generations. PA‘I Foundation is the non-profit organization of Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima, a h'lau hula (school of Hawaiian dance) founded by kumu hula (master teacher of Hawaiian dance) Vicky Holt Takamine in 1977. While the organization is centered around and supported by h'lau members, the purpose of PA‘I Foundation is to address and serve the needs of native Hawaiians and those who make Hawai’i their home.




The Intercultural Leadership Institute has been made possible thanks to generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, American Express, Southwest Airlines and the National Endowment for the Arts.  We appreciate the support of these primary ILI sponsors as well as all of the funders, members, donors, and volunteers of our four ILI core partner organizations.

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