At the end of June 2008, for the 3rd time, about 40 Younger Leaders from all over the world, from sectors as varied as the international criminal court of human rights, to logging companies, sustainability consultancies, entrepreneurial ventures, and NGOs came together three days before the official starting ceremony of the Tällberg Forum. Tom Cummings, Founder and Chairman of Executive Learning Partnership and Rebecca Oliver from the Tällberg Foundation provided powerful and engaging facilitation for the three days. The programme was designed to give time for the group to network, exchange and test out ideas and initiatives under the blue skies of the land of the midnight sun.
A New Leader, the leader for tomorrow’s challenges, is one that must feel the interconnectedness of issues and understand that climate change is merely one of the consequences of losing our connection to the wider and more complex system we belong to – to Nature. The programme focussed on facing the complexity of global systems, both natural and human-made.
The three days were spent together in conversations, reflections and enjoying nature, with the central aim of challenging ourselves to reconsider structures and underlying assumptions of our everyday lives and to find new ways of approaching challenges. Professor Bob Corell, Chair of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, presented the latest unsettling truths about the melting ice caps, and Colin Jones, former Dean of Cape Town Cathedral and Trustee of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, led the group through an analysis of the moral imperatives of our inter-relationships with each other and with nature. The group was then invited to take these perspectives and integrate them with their own thinking and visions for the future. They were asked to develop action points for their contribution to mitigating the human destabilisation of nature.
Early on morning if the second day, Bo Ekman, the founder of Tällberg Forum together with Chief Oren Lyons, a North American Indian elder of the Onondaga Nation, guided the New Leaders in a silent walk in Nature to remind the group of the system we indeed belong to, followed by an honest and inspiring sharing of personal experiences. All facilitators, joined by Marcello Palazzi, Tällberg Board Member, were standing by the New Leaders in their reflective process in which they were moving from understanding systems thinking to starting to voice action points for the journey towards systems doing. The underlying question that kept coming back to the group was “How on Earth can we live together?” not only referring to social and cultural diversity, but going beyond the human race and finding ways to reconnect with Nature and act accordingly.
In addition to this, a mentorship programme, uniquely possible in conjunction with the Tällberg Forum, was set up between the New Leaders and renowned climate scientists, leading businessmen, politicians, thinkers and activists for one-on-one conversations, exchange of knowledge, experience and concerns and doubts when facing the challenges of our times. The mentorship relationships were aimed at challenging the visions that the New Leaders had developed, as well as the building of potential lasting connections beyond Tällberg.
The New Leaders Programme provided an inspiring and powerful preparation for the Tällberg Forum – members of the New Leaders group embarked on the Forum journey ready for challenging conversations and exploring ways of “how on Earth can we live together”, equipped with a list of action points for the long term, for sustainable systems doing.