Detroit Fascinates Both American and European Leaders – Learn Why with GMF
As it moves from economic crisis to global future, Detroit fascinates all European Marshall Memorial Fellows who travel there—as the Fellows’ GMF blog posts demonstrate.
A key factor driving Detroit’s unpresented Grand Bargain, as a recent GMF policy study explored, has been the unprecedented philanthropic investment in the city, fueled by a deep sense of civic engagement on the part of both the city’s citizens and its civic institutions. The three biggest foundations to participate in the grand bargain— Kresge, Ford, and Knight Foundations — all trace their roots to Detroit and have expressed a sense of civic duty. Indeed, Detroit’s rich civic culture impresses many European visitors, such as MMF Fellow Akira Kirton (MMF ‘12) from the UK, who explored the role of civil society in fostering new models of collaboration and entrepreneurship.
Detroit’s entrepreneurial ethos similarly inspired Italian entrepreneur Francesca Zecca (MMF ‘12), who made the passionate case for a transatlantic culture of entrepreneurism.
Detroit’s business models also prove thought-provoking to visitors. Julien Puyou (MMF ‘15) from Toulouse, a prominent aerospace manufacturing town in France, discussed lessons his hometown aerospace city can from the Motor City.
From the other side of the Atlantic, Detroiter Krik Mayes (MMF ‘13) applied lessons learned in Copenhagen to Detroit, providing an insider’s perspective on the challenges Detroit has faced related to urban exodus and demographic change.
Detroit’s trajectory is both a unique and fascinating story about global leadership and innovation, and also emblematic of wider structural changes prompting leaders around the Atlantic to adapt their priorities and tactics.
To learn why Detroit has consistently fascinated so many MMF Fellows, GMF invites the transatlantic alumni community to Detroit from September 21-23 for the Marshall Seminar on “Leading Through Transition Toward Global Engagement.” This two day Seminar will explore strategic questions of how to lead change with coalitions, creative breakthroughs, and equitable outcomes while leveraging global networks and trends.
The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.