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    Peace Leadership and Martti Ahtisaari

    I had a remarkable opportunity to spend three days with the Former President of Finland and Nobel Laureate, Martti Ahtisaari and learn first hand about peace leadership.  I will share more in the next blog entry but for now, I want to acknowledge that in Finland it is Martti Ahtisaari Day. See below:


    Briefly in English

    Ahtisaari Days

    The purpose of the Ahtisaari Days is to increase knowledge of mediation at all levels of society. The aim is to make peace work and mediation part of everyone’s daily life by treating the theme in schools, at public events and among experts. The Ahtisaari Days are held yearly in November, around Martti’s nameday (10 November). In 2014, the Ahtisaari Day events will take place in Turku (11th & 13th of November 2014). The Ahtisaari Days are organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

    More information about Ahtisaari Days 2013 can be found here.


    The original idea for Ahtisaari Day came from the Country Brand Delegation which outlined solution-oriented approach and functionality as the key strengths of Finland. The Country Brand Delegation assigned the Ministry for Foreign Affairs with a mission to organise an annual peace mediation event, which would be called the Ahtisaari Days. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs accepted the mission and considers the Ahtisaari Days an important initiative by means of which it is possible to enhance international cooperation in peace mediation and highlight Finnish expertise in the arena. In the future, Finland wants to make even stronger commitments to peace mediation. By means of peace mediation, it is possible to affect conflicts in their various stages. In the best-case scenario, conflicts are prevented before they arise.

    Material for Schools

    Schools around the world are more than welcome to join Ahtisaari Days.

    • Conflict resolution role game, Kurkum Peace Talks, suitable for high school students can be downloaded here.
    • Ahtisaari Days Online game can be played here.

    Additional information

    Director Keijo Norvanto, Unit for Communications, Foreign Ministry,

    tel. +358 1605 5836 or mobile tel. +358 40 520 3925



    Mandela and Ubuntu Leadership

    Today we bury one of the world's most important leaders of all time.  Let us not bury his ideals and call to action with him.  The time is now for the world to embrace the African Humanistic concept of Ubuntu.  Granted this concept exists in many forms with many different names and regardless of the proper name, I am asking that we all rally around it. In short, Ubuntu is about forgiveness. Forgiveness of self and others. True forgiveness.  True forgiveness for the purpose of uniting us all. Ubuntu is about recognizing that we are all interconnected.  If someone does something horrific to another, they not only hurt the victim, they hurt themselves and they ultimately hurt all those in the same energy spheres whether they be individual, family, team, neighborhood, community, culture, organization, country, and the world.  Ubuntu is about respect and dignity.  If we can adopt respect and dignity as our core guiding values of action, then we can eliminate so many of our global problems.  If we can use a compasionate lens through which to view situations, problems and issues; we can again eliminate so many of our global problems and we can devise humane solutions.  If we can think and act without borders, and recognize each other as brothers and sisters, then and only then will we be embracing humanity - a major tenet of Ubuntu. 

    The time is now.  I wish I was not writing this on the day Mandela is being buried. I wish we had all heard and heeded his words before now.  But as long as we start.  As long as we start now.  As long as we start now and act BIG.  As long as we start now, act BIG, and with humanity; we will save ourselves from ourselves.  We have the guiding template --- now let us radically change out interactions, our education,  our organizations, and our politics.  Most of all, let us employ Ubuntu within and between governments.  In the name of Ubuntu, let us put down the swords and come together.  In the name of Ubuntu.  In the name of Nelson Mandela.  Let peace prevail through respect, compassion, dignity, and empathy. 

    Ann Dinan

    Head of North American Operations, Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative



    Just finishing another fantastic UN GRLI (Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative) conference.  This time we were hosted by ESSEC in Cergy-Pointoise, a most picturesque village on the river Oise.  Details will follow soon!  It was an extraordinary event and you will not want to miss the details!

    Ann Dinan, Ph.D.



    Obama and Ubuntu Leadership

    On February 3, 2012, the Cincinnati Enquirer published a piece by Julie Pace of the Associated Press that quoted President Obama as saying that "faith and values should play as much a role in tackling the nation's challenges as smart policies".  He was specifically speaking of his Christian values and I couldn't help but notice the alignment with the African concept of Ubuntu.  Although not everyone links Ubuntu to a Christian concept, and we do not link Ubuntu Leadership solely to a Christian concept, it is interesting to make the leap from Obama's comments to thinking that perhaps Ubuntu is a guiding force for him.

    Roughly defined, Ubuntu means "I am who I am because of who we all are".  Thus, if I do something harmful to you, I not only hurt you, but I hurt myself and all those in both of our spheres.  Of course, the same is true if you do something positive.  Leadership anchored in values is something we have also discussed in this blog regarding Bob McDonald of P&G and also Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton and Former President Clinton. 

    For years now we have advocated that values based on the Humanistic Philosophy of Ubunty would make a great starting place for leadership of all levels!  We have actually designed a theoretical model and operationalized it as well so that we could "test" the application of Ubuntu concepts with organizations.  So far, the results are positive.

    What a service Obama would be doing to the world if he pubicly spoke about his position on Ubuntu!!!

    Ann Dinan, Ph.D., M.S.S.A., C.P.C.C.



    Values-Driven Leadership by Bob McDonald, CEO of P&G

    Today, Bob McDonald, CEO of P&G gave an inspiring speech on Values-Driven Leadership at the Distinguished Speaker's Series hosted by the Williams College of Business at Xavier University.  The essence of his speech is as follows:

    1. Living a life driven by PURPOSE is more meaningful and rewarding than meandering through life without direction.
    2. Everyone wants to SUCCEED and success is contagious.
    3. Putting people in the right jobs is one of the the most important tasks of a leader.
    4. CHARACTER is the most important trait of a leader and personal responsibility an important component.
    5. Diverse groups of people are more INNOVATIVE than homegenous groups.
    6. Ineffective strategies, systems, and culture are bigger barriers to ACHIEVEMENT than the talents of people.
    7. There will be some people who don't make it on the journey and they should still be treated with respect.
    8. Organizations must RENEW themselves.
    9. RECRUITING is a top priority.
    10. The true test of a leader is the PERFORMANCE of an organization when he/she is absent.

    For those of you who are familiar with the Personal Leadership Institute, you will find his words consistent with our beliefs, assumptions, and actions.  In fact, we believe he could have written a large part of our website and supporting materials, and we could have written his speech (although not delivered it as eloquently as he did!).

    At the end of his speech, Bob, also mentioned the importance of social responsibility.  It is so refreshing to hear a CEO of a major organization speaking about values-driven leadership AND social responsibility.

    Rock on, Bob!


    Ann Dinan, Ph.D., M.S.S.A., C.P.C.C.
    The Deeper Leadership Institute