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    Entries in leadership (14)


    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.



    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



    Culturally Adaptive Leadership and Privilege

    President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address last night, and Chris Matthews, of MSNBC, said "He is post-racial, by all appearances.  I forgot he was black tonight for an hour.  You know, he's gone a long way to become a leader of this country, and past so much history, in just a year or two.  I mean, it's something we don't even think about."

    Although Chris meant those words as a compliment there has been quite a bit of backlash as a result.

    So, let's dissect this statement.  First of all what does it mean to be post-racial?  There is an implied positive connotation in that term, and yet it also has components of privilege.  Post-racial sounds to me like it means post-black.  After all, it is really not post-white.  Therefore, the term implies that when we reach a place that race does not matter, we will all be indviduals of privilege.  Right now, in this society, that means we are individuals who have privileges accorded to whites and specifically white males. 

    I am not going to put words in Chris Matthew's mouth nor attempt to be inside of his head, but if in fact, he was trying to say that President Obama is a leader-  Period -  a leader; and is not being described or viewed as a black leader, then I understand what he was trying to say.  In this country, with a history of slavery, not only have we elected a president who is a person of color, but now we have gone beyond defining him by his color and we are defining him by his leadership. 

    And yet, we still need to be very much aware of race and racial tensions even with a president who is a person of color.  In fact, I have heard more overt racial comments since President Obama threw his hat in the race for president, than I have in all of my 49 years.  I am not sure we can jump to the conclusion that race relations are healed or even different because a person of color was elected President of the United States.

    In fact, President Obama's election has really brought to the surface many racial feelings that were buried for so many years.  I  maintain that we will not ever be able to successfully deal with racial issues (or gender or sexual orientation or any other similar type of situation) until we deal first with privilege.  In this society, white males have more privilege than any other group.  Let me be quick to point out that they did not necessarily ask for this privilege.  Hence, this is a very sensitive issue among white men and with good reason.  Nonetheless, privileges in every domain of their lives are afforded to them and privilege being the quiet, invisible entity that it is; is not recognized by most people. 

    I also do not want to single out white men when speaking of privilege.   We have sub-groups within under-privileged groups that have more privilege than others.  This will continue until we all recognize our own privilege AND are willing to give up our privilege for the greater good of humanity.  If you believe we are all created equal, then that equality ends there in this society.  We have the ability to understand our privilege, and we have the ability to act in a more non-privileged way if we choose.  We can lead our lives by recognizing our own privilege and our own humanity.  We can order our lives around the concept of Ubuntu:  I am who I am because of who we all are.  We can commit to equality - true equality. 

    Electing a person of color as the President of the United States is not to be negated.  But we cannot make assumptions beyond that fact to race relations or to privilege relations in this country. 

    Collectively, we all have a lot of work to do before we achieve equality for all.

    It sounds to me as if Chris Matthews may hold that vision.  Electing a person of color as the leader of the United States is a component of that vision.  It is not the end all and be all.  It is up to us to each do our part.

    Peggy McIntosh wrote a wonderful piece of work on the Invisible Knapsack of Privilege.  In that article, she asked a number of questions that one could answer to ascertain their level of privilege.  Here is a sampling of them:

    "I am never asked to speak for all of the people of my racial group"

    "I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the person in charge, I will be facing a person of my race"

    "I can choose bandages in "flesh" colour that more or less match my skin"

    Others have written about male privilege, heterosexual privilege, and socio-economic privilege.  These works are absolutely eye-opening!  Unfortunately, they are eye-opening because most people have the privilege of not ever having to think about these things.

    That is where are work lies.  Let us begin.


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