Health + Behavior

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awards $5.44 million to UCLA to create program to train future world leaders

Grant invests in the next generation of leaders to advance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals


The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced a $5.44 million grant to the UCLA WORLD Policy Analysis Center (WORLD) for the creation of an initiative that will train the next generation of world leaders and thinkers. Based at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, WORLD is the globe’s largest quantitative policy center, capturing data on what actions governments take to advance social, economic and environmental well-being for all 193 United Nations member countries.

Over the next 15 years, trillions of dollars and millions of human hours will be invested to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. Unanimously adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2015, the SDGs are a set of 17 universal goals that include the aim to reduce poverty and hunger, improve health, advance education, make cities more sustainable, and combat climate change. Beyond governments, a wide range of civil society and private sector stakeholders have committed themselves to the implementation of the goals by 2030.

Despite this unprecedented commitment, critical knowledge and practice on how to achieve many of these ambitious goals is lacking. Currently, few programs exist that focus on training the next generation of leaders to address the human development, health, economic, and environmental needs at the core of the SDGs.

“We believe that, in order to achieve the SDGs, we must invest in training a new generation across all fields related to the goals to give these future leaders and practitioners the cross-discipline knowledge and skills needed for necessary implementation,” said Peter Laugharn, president and CEO of the Hilton Foundation. “We are confident in the breadth of experience that Dean Jody Heymann and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health bring to this program, and we are proud to be supporting this initiative.”

WORLD’s data resources have become a valued resource for a wide range of disciplines. By design, all of WORLD’s research is collaborative, drawing upon its deep partnerships with faculty across disciplines and strong relationships with other educational institutions, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations around the world. WORLD’s ability to link national policy to solid outcomes makes it a useful resource for the larger developmental and governmental community.

WORLD is the largest global quantitative policy center, capturing well over 1,000 health, social, economic, and environmental policy and program indicators for all 193 U.N. countries. WORLD has partnerships with academic, civil society, and intergovernmental organizations covering all regions. WORLD is led by Jody Heymann, who is dean of the Fielding School and a distinguished professor in the Luskin School of Public Affairs, the David Geffen School of Medicine and the Fielding School.

“Our intent is to use the grant from the Hilton Foundation to equip the next generation of leaders with the tools to learn what works to accelerate poverty reduction, advance equal opportunity and achieve the SDGs,” Heymann said. “Training will focus both on fellows obtaining the skills to advance knowledge and on having the skills to effectively translate that understanding into equal opportunity for previously marginalized populations, more equitable health and education outcomes, increased livelihoods and an improved environment.”

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance use, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. In 2015, the Humanitarian Prize was awarded to Landesa, a Seattle-based land rights organization. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.4 billion in grants, distributing $107 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2015. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2.5 billion. For more information, please visit

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