The leaders of today – be they political leaders, corporate leaders or civil society leaders – must act within the context of a dynamic system of global pressures and trends. Much of political and policy leadership is exercised through policy change.
The British Council’s Future Leaders Connect was a convergence of exceptional young leaders under 35 years of age, carefully selected to become a member of a network of global policy leaders coordinated by the British Council. Christine Mwangi, an adjunct faculty and the Director of the Center for Business Journalism at Strathmore Business School, was among 6 selected Kenyan leaders and a total of 50 leaders from 11 countries who were selected to participate in the programme. This was a very competitive process with over 2,000 applicants from Kenya alone and there were a total of 11,000 applications from all over the world.
The Future Leaders Connect aims to identify exceptional young people in the UK and across the world who have the potential to be future leaders of their countries in the fields of politics and policy, and who will be amongst the shapers of global policymaking in the years ahead. The Future Leaders Connect programme was a 2-week immersion in leadership and policy-making in the United Kingdom. The programme included a one-week training at the Moller Center at Cambridge University and another week engaging in policy discussions on key global issues at the UK parliament and 10 Downing Street.
According to a new report by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), which was commissioned by the British Council, a global mindset is the most valued characteristic of leadership in the world today.
Research by the Thunderbird School among over 200 global executives and over 6,000 managers have also characterised “the set of individual qualities that are critical for the leaders of tomorrow” as a “global mindset” (Javidan, 2010). Having a global mindset, they say, requires:
One highlight of the event as described by Christine Mwangi, was a meeting with “The Elders”. The Elders were created ten years ago by the late Nelson Mandela to focus on global peace solutions in the face of division and conflict, continuing his ‘long walk to freedom’. The Elders comprise of world leaders such as former UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon and former Algerian freedom fighter and UN diplomat, Lakhdar Brahimi, just but to mention a few. The Elders represent an independent body which champions Mandela’s values of peace, health, justice, and equality. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate is the current Chair of the Elders.
Christine Mwangi said that it was a great privilege and an honor to be part of the Future Leaders Connect programme.
“During the programme and after having the opportunity to listen to and have discussions with world leaders such as Kofi Annan, thinkers like Thomas Friedman and fellow participants; I realized that the challenges we are facing in our countries are very similar; especially now in the age of automation, climate change, migration challenges and inequality. The need for collective action and a global response to these issues is more critical than ever. I am forever grateful to the British Council for my membership in the Future Leaders Connect policy network especially because it is very relevant to my work as an academic focusing on sustainability and education.”
The British Council will be accepting applications for the next intake of Future Leaders Connect programme in early 2018 and more details on this and about the 2017 programme can be found on their website.