November 2023 update

The Knowing-Doing Network Leadership Coalition (KDNLC) has officially launched!

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An update on the KDNLC selection process

Thank you to the 195 organizations from around the world that expressed interest in participating in the Knowing-Doing Network Leadership Coalition (KDNLC)! Located in 58 different countries across nearly every region of the world (see Figure 1), these organizations are working to improve education through a focus on diverse topic areas (see Figure 2). We are so appreciative of the opportunity to learn about their innovative and inspiring research, policy efforts, and direct service work in support of holistic learning for young people, especially those in marginalized communities.

Out of all the organizations that expressed interest in the KDNLC, 113 organizations—or 58 percent—met all of the eligibility requirements and were invited to submit a full application. The final deadline for these applications was May 15, 2023; 95 organizations submitted full applications. The selection process now moves into its next phase, with both internal and external reviewers evaluating applications over the coming weeks.

We are on track to announce the 10 organizations that will make up the leadership coalition later this summer. Please stay tuned for more updates!

If you have additional questions, please read the FAQ or email them to [email protected].

Figure 1. Orgs expressing interest and those invited to apply to KDNLC

Focus areas of organizations that applied to the KDNLC


Young people today face complex challenges – the climate crisis, increasing levels of conflict and displacement, rising authoritarianism, and the diverse social and economic effects of a global pandemic – intersecting with historical injustices, such as gender-based violence and discrimination, economic inequality, and racism and anti-Blackness. Yet the great majority of education systems around the world do little to support the type of inclusive, holistic learning that would prepare all children and youth, especially those living in the most marginalized contexts, to not only navigate these challenges, but to be agents of positive change in their own lives, in their local communities, and on the global stage.

Progress on the adoption of policies and practices in support of the development of a breadth of skills has been threatened, especially as the exacerbation of inequalities both within and outside of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by a “back to the basics” approach of incremental change and basic literacy and numeracy. More than ever, young people today need education systems that support their (re)engagement, socio-emotional well-being, and the development of an evolving set of critical thinking, creative and collaborative skills. To ensure the inclusive and equitable development of a breadth of skills in all young people, education leaders must work collaboratively with actors across education ecosystems – at the local, regional, and global level – to transform education systems.


A Global Network for Education System Transformation

In recognition of the collaborative nature of this work, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) within the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution aims to build the Knowing-Doing Network (KDN), a global movement network for learning and action on education systems transformation in support of inclusive and holistic learning. Made up of actors from across education ecosystems, both locally and globally, this “network-of-networks” will facilitate information sharing, promote collaborative knowledge creation, foster capacity strengthening, and coordinate actors and actions across multiple networks to catalyze systemic change. A global coalition of civil society organizations – the Knowing-Doing Network Leadership Coalition (KDNLC) – will work in partnership with CUE to co-construct the agenda, structure, and methodology to weave together CUE’s existing and emerging networks and connect them to broader systems transformation efforts.


Call for expressions of interest to join the Knowing-Doing Network Leadership Coalition

CUE is looking for up to 10 civil society organizations (CSOs) operating in geographically, economically, and culturally diverse communities across the world, particularly in the Global South, to join the KDNLC. Over the next four years (2023-2026), the KDNLC will:

  • Co-create research agendas and engage in collaborative inquiry and shared learning around:
    • how to inform and support effective policies and practices for systems transformation toward inclusive and holistic learning within their local contexts and globally
    • how to effectively contribute to translating evidence into action at the systems level
  • Connect members of the broader KDN across contexts and thematic areas
    • co-construct spaces to explore, experiment, and learn with peers across CUE’s existing and emerging topical networks (e.g., family engagement, early learning, gender equality, innovative pedagogy, climate education, etc.)
    • develop methodology to connect topical networks to broader education systems transformation efforts
  • Develop both locally specific and global communication and engagement strategies
    • lead efforts to engage with stakeholders locally and globally to build the knowledge base behind systems transformation for holistic learning
    • work to strengthen sustainable mechanisms and spaces for ongoing engagement of education policy actors at local, national, and global levels

In support of this work, KDNLC organizations will receive up to approximately $400,000 total over the period of the initial phase of this project (through December 2026). Subgrants to support staff participation in the network, as well as the implementation of local research and impact projects, will be distributed on an annual basis and will be dependent on continued and active participation in the KDNLC as well as continued compliance with the organizational, fiscal, and legal terms of the sub-grant agreement.

Timing and application deadlines

Phase 1: Launch and call for expressions of interest

February 17 – March 31, 2023

Phase 2: Deadline to express interest

March 31, 2023

Phase 3: Applications accepted from eligible organizations

April 8 – May 14, 2023

Phase 4: Selection decisions

July – August, 2023

Application timeline

How to express interest in the KDNLC opportunity?

Step 1: Determine if your organization is a fit (and if the KDNLC is right for you).

Please review the eligibility requirements, qualifications, benefits, and responsibilities of KDNLC members.

Step 1a: Attend the information session.

You can watch the March 14, 2023 webinar recording here and see the PowerPoint slides here.

Step 2: Complete the KDNLC Expression of Interest form online.

Please complete the Expression of Interest form by March 31, 2023 at 11:59 pm EDT.

Please refer to this PDF document if you wish to preview the entire Expression of Interest form. Organizations must submit answers via the link above. Organizations expressing interest will be notified between March 1 and April 14 if they are eligible to submit a full application. Full applications will be accepted between April 8 and May 14, 2023.

About the Center for Universal Education

As part of the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) develops and disseminates effective solutions for quality education and skills development. It offers a forum for research, high-level dialogue, and public debate on a range of issues relevant to education, with a particular focus on Global South contexts. CUE envisions a world where all children and youth have the skills they need to thrive and plays a critical role in influencing the development of policy related to global education, promoting actionable strategies for governments, civil society and private enterprise.

About the Brookings Institution

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent, in-depth research that leads to pragmatic and innovative ideas on how to solve problems facing society.