New GMF Leadership Hubs Advance Inclusion and Democracy
Politics and societies on both sides of the Atlantic seem increasingly imperiled and divided. Most observers, regardless of their political persuasion, agree on this point. But with sustained investment, we can approach a tipping point through inclusive and democratic initiatives that lead to bold innovation. Given this unique moment in history, leadership development linked to issues that cut across sectors and regions provides the clearest path forward.
With this in mind, GMF is proud to announce the development of two leadership “hubs” designed to advance leadership on topics vital to the future of international liberal order: An Inclusive Leadership Hub based in GMF’s Paris office; and a Hub for Leadership and Democracy centered in GMF’s Black Sea Trust in Bucharest, Romania. Each hub will develop and carry out initiatives designed to enhance leaders’ competencies and advance their respective themes across their regions, while also acting as a disseminator of best practices across Europe and the United States. Recommendations that these activities take place stem from GMF’s inaugural Transatlantic Leadership Retreat and are generously sponsored by Meridiam Infrastructure (Archery Foundation) and the Federal Republic of Germany through KfW.
GMF’s Leadership Hub in Paris will focus on the study and practice of inclusive leadership. The Hub will take the lead in running the Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network (TILN), offer workshops on leadership and inclusion, and feature thought leadership in inclusive policymaking. GMF has launched this project now at a time of vigorous grassroots innovation to advance inclusion and social cohesion. Given GMF’s strengths in connecting diverse leadership networks in the United States, the time is ideal to help foster links between leaders in Europe and connect them effectively to U.S. counterparts. Among the European cities, Paris has been chosen as the ideal location because France embodies, with a consistent new generation of political leaders, pluralism that is essential to societies involved in transatlantic collaboration. As founder, chairman and CEO of Meridiam Infrastructure Thierry Déau reflects, “to deal with complex requirements, you need complex thinking, and such a level of sophistication requires a wealth of diversity.” The Paris Inclusive Leadership Hub will disseminate these values across our transatlantic leadership community. The results of this new project will culminate at GMF’s next Triennial Leadership Retreat in 2020, which will take place in the Paris region.
Where the Paris Hub will help catalyze inclusive leaders who embody the spirit of transformation now reshaping Europe, the Hub for Leadership and Democracy in Bucharest builds on a generation of leaders’ success in advancing the future of democracy and deepening their leadership capacity in the face of renewed threats. Democracy on both sides of the Atlantic faces similar challenges. First of all, the issues of economic inequality, increased automation, and digitization of the work place are restructuring the social fabric and bringing trust in public institutions and elected leadership to an all-time low. The decreasing health of older democracies in the West, combined with the backsliding of the newer democracies in the East, is producing a truly formidable challenge to our values-based community. Secondly, democracy is at cross-roads. New technologies are opening up entirely new avenues for communication and are transforming the public space and the way political preferences are taking shape. The Bucharest Hub will support democratic leaders and empower innovation to address these and other democracy related challenges. With support of the Federal Republic of Germany through the KfW, key components will also include and expansion of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia and a Marshall Seminar on the Frontier of Democracy in Kiev.
The Bucharest Leadership Hub will also manage the growing portfolio of GMF Alumni Leadership Action Projects. In 2017, GMF awarded 18 mini-grants to alumni to advance projects on inclusive societies, subnational diplomacy, and the future of democracy on both sides of the Atlantic. “Now is the time to catalyze the different investments GMF and the region’s local leaders have made in building leadership capacity,” asserts Kevin Cottrell (MMF ’08), director of GMF’s Transatlantic Leadership Initiatives — “and help buttress pro-democracy efforts now and for future generations. The Bucharest Hub will link and amplify these activities, with the overarching goal of renewing and strengthening civic leadership on both sides of the Atlantic.”
The coming five years, as our societies solidify the policies that lead us out of the recession and this era of political division, will set the tone for the next few decades. To sustain a transatlantic community based on shared liberal values, it is imperative to empower emerging, young and established leaders to build regional networks, inspire and empower ordinary citizens to defend and uphold universal values. GMF’s extensive leadership network of alumni and stakeholders who participated in GMF’s inaugural Triennial Transatlantic Leadership Retreat have provided the inspiration, ideas, and support to make these two hubs possible at this time of great need. We look forward to sharing with you the ideas, initiatives, and best practices that result from these hubs over the coming weeks and months as we launch.
The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.