12 APRIL 2019 / Leadership in a Disrupted World: a Tällberg Foundation workshop

A team from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and iMEdD—Andreas Dracopoulos, Stelios Vasilakis, Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou, Stratis Trilikis—traveled to Cairo to participate in a Tällberg Foundation workshop.

The trip allowed for an experience of one of the world’s largest and most intense cities, while at the same time engaging in a conversation about some of today’s greatest challenges at a global level with the workshop’s distinguished participants.

Cairo is a city defined by a continuous state of being totally chaotic and coherent at the same time. Its ability to continue to address extraordinary challenges is a marker of its inhabitants’ ability to be resilient and creative, and to innovate both individually and collectively. Cairo is creativity personified.

Tangier, Mexico City, Cairo, and down the road Nairobi. The Tällberg Foundation has redefined itself, over the years, as a “borderless platform,” a “process” rather than a fixed entity, that constantly evolves in order to debate and discuss some of the most vexing and intractable issues of the 21st century. By engaging what is typically considered the periphery rather than the center, Tällberg is suggesting that not only the center of gravity has been shifting, but also that the periphery is evolving fast into something much more dynamic than the center, inviting, as a result, unconventional thinking and a much more open, and consequently productive, conversation.

Over two days in late March (24-25), the Tällberg Foundation convened one of its workshops in Cairo to discuss the critical issue of “Leadership in a Disrupted World.” The workshop engaged through dialogue in inquiry about increasingly fragile local and global institutions, and about the type of leadership required to address some of today’s unprecedented challenges such as climate change, migration, globalization and its limitations, fast advancing technological innovation and its social and ethical ramifications, economic disparity, declining faith in traditional democratic governance, and more. In typical Tällberg fashion, the participants came from different arenas and included former recipients of Tällberg’s Eliasson Global Leadership Prize.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) has been a constant presence at Tällberg workshops over the years. Apart from the fact that SNF is one of Tällberg’s main supporters, the organizations share certain similarities as well. Both organizations are defined, among other things, by a commitment to help address, through different means, ongoing critical issues at a global level.

We all understand that it is only through a global understanding, conversation, and debate that we effectively respond to the major issues of our time. Global engagement allows us to address specific issues at a local level by utilizing the experience of what works and what does not in multiple situations and conditions at a global level.

Moreover, following the discussions at the workshop, we were able to watch people with unique communications skills inspiring different social groups from various countries towards maximizing the power of their ideas.