The International Young Leaders Assemblyopened with a powerful call to leadership. At the IYLA orientation, John Dickson, Chairman GYLA, a co-convener of IYLA, pulled the focus onto the present. "You are not future leaders, you are leaders now. How you do today is how you do your life," he said. Global Peace Foundation president, James Flynn urged delegates to embody leadership “focused on the greater good of all humanity.”
Over the last two days, the reemerging theme of leadership seems to be building relationshipsbased on a common vision.
Naomi Yakawich, IYLA content coordinatorwrote, “Mandela called leadership ‘an expression of our willingness to engage in the issues and challenges we see around us.’"
The session at the Sustained Dialogue Institute drove this point of leadership home. Mark Farr, president of the Sustained Dialogue Institute (SDI) said, “There is a missing art in public life. What is missing is the interaction of people. People should be engaged. You need to be involved.”
He described dialogue as a process where people “listen carefully enough that they are changed by what they hear.” Rev. Farr asked delegates, “What’s your vision of an ideal world?” during a special workshop on Sustained Dialogue.
Through dialogue, IYLA delegates discovered that vision drives individuals, and shared vision galvanizes a team
Here is some of what they exchanged:
- “I want to see a sense of community.” –Putri Anastasia Vania, Indonesia
- “…a place where education is something everyone can have…a world where you and the person next to you can have a conversation and not be afraid.” –Brian Poe Llamanzares, Philippines
- “It is important to give others an opportunity to those who don’t have a say. We take advantage of our resources. It’s important to work with our natural environment to come up with creative and innovative solutions.” –Megan Glenn, USA
- “My life is only important if I can help other people… what is important is what I leave behind. My legacy will live on. We should not be afraid to embrace people.” –Shabieko Ivy, Jamaica
- “My vision…to be bold, reaching forward by reaching back.” –Jeanni Simpson, USA
Shabieko Ivy, current Junior at Hofstra University School of Communications studying Cultural Anthropology and Global Studies Major reflected on the process. “Today's dialogue at the Institute brought forth new ideas on how we can be a bridge connecting and overcoming the gaps that separate us.”
As the international, multi-racial, inter-religious, inter-generational group moves through the remaining program, it will be interesting to see how the close and personal dialogue around shared visions and values develops their leadership and teamwork.
As Naomi wrote in her sketch of day two, “Relationships like these are key to resolving conflict. Strong relationships formed under a common vision can transform deep, long-lasting conflict between individuals, groups of people, even nations.”
The Global Peace Foundation is a co-convener of the International Young Leaders Assembly. The assembly is an ambitious ten-day practicum in leadership that featured programs at globally significant institutions like the World Bank, National Constitution Center and the United Nations.