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Dear Partners, Associates and friends of GRLI - this update contains a short reflection about our direction of travel and the work appearing ahead for the GRLI followed by a few essential updates and announcements. Any thoughts, feedback or questions will be welcomed.


The backdrop to this message is the release of the IPBES Global Assessment report in Paris on Monday and the declaration of a climate emergency by the UK parliament last week.

Earlier this week in discussion with Emma Wilcox, CEO of SocEnv (an umbrella society for professional bodies in the UK), we reflected on recent developments and the sudden shift from "awareness and advocacy" for global responsibility to "urgency and action". 

Statements of intent (such as the UK declaration), heavy-hitting scientific reports (such as the report from IPBES) and growing non-violent civil disobedience (as exemplified by the Extinction Rebellion & School Strike for Climate) helps amplify and multiply the moral obligation on governments, industry and civil society (including academia and education) to act with urgency and in the best interest of all of us in the long run.

After all - one can not declare a climate emergency or learn of unprecedented extinction rates and simply continue with business as usual?

In the same vein, a few weeks earlier at AACSB's Change for Good ICAM event, Tom Robinson highlighted the necessary moral underpinning of economic activity built on empathy and the recognition of the social and relational nature of humans.

Redefining the purpose of business to serve the common good and reframing economics to promote inclusive well-being leads us inevitably to "the existential economic question of our time" as Kate Raworth proposed in a recent media interviews - How do we end our addiction to endless growth?

So what?

The urgency of our times places an increased demand on initiatives and approaches that develop global responsibility in leadership and practice. The places, spaces and movements waking up to the need for relational innovation towards global responsibility is encouraging, if not at times overwhelming. Holding and working with uncomfortable questions that do not have an apparent or one right answer is messy but necessary and is where our work comes into play.

The GRLI itself is confronted with the question of growing and scaling our impact without falling prey to the false 19th century logic of "getting bigger" and "being more visible". Put differently - how do we grow the GRLI's work without growing the institution beyond what is absolutely necessary? At our 2018 AGM we asked - How do we lead beyond our ego (or logo) and optimise our role within in a larger ecosystem of change and transformation?

Now what?

These questions lead us to extend our inquiry into innovative forms of governance and collaborative alliance building. 

  • The recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with ABIS (The Academy of Business in Society) is a significant step in that direction. We will participate in and support the facilitation of the 22 May ABIS Knowledge into Action Forum 2019, to be held at the Unilever Four Acres leadership center and encourage our Partners and Associates that are interested to take part if possible. 
  • We are also providing input to the ongoing PRME Strategic Review and encourage our partners to provide their input by 10 May. 
  • Furthermore we're in discussion with The Mission Possible Foundation about increased amplification of the 50+20 vision.
  • The results from ongoing discussions with our longstanding partners at Emerald about increased open access knowledge sharing is already evident in this newsletter with more exciting initiatives underway.

Acting as a partnering platform for global responsibility provides our Partners and Associates with unique opportunities to advance this work and positions the GRLI as facilitating catalyst for systemic transformation of learning, living and leading towards global responsibility.

With this update it is also my pleasure to share:

  • further appointments to the GRLI Board and Guardian Group;
  • blog contributions from John Knights;
  • an open access article from the archives of the Journal of Global Responsibility;
  • several "Save the Dates" including:
Kindly note that our 2019 AGM kicks-off at Nova Business School at noon on Thursday 7 November. Our AGM includes participation in proceedings at Nova Business School that afternoon and evening and the morning of Friday 8 November.
The remainder of Friday and Saturday (9 Nov) will be a GRLI Council event for Partners, Associates and friends of GRLI.

Please be sure to check our Events page for upcoming dates and registration links.

Finally, we have a limited number of Partner and Associate opportunities available, to complete a purposefully small complement of active participants. If you are not yet engaged in our work and interested to Partner or Associate with GRLI, then please book a convenient slot for us to meet on zoom.

Warm regards,

John North

Welcoming new Board Members

The GRLI is honored to welcome Julia Christensen Hughes, Wayne Visser, and Sanjay Sharma to our board of Trustees. Read more.

Welcome to New Guardian-Elect

Welcome to Rumina Dhalla, as our new Guardian-Elect. She is an Associate Professor of Organizational Studies and Sustainable Commerce at the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph.

Global Responsibility Thought Leadership on Our Blog

What is Transpersonal Leadership?
Here is the full 3-part blog series of a conversation with John Knights, author of Leading Beyond The Ego: How to Become a Transpersonal Leader, as a resource for  the GRLI community.

Part 1 | Part 2  | Part 3


From the Archives: Journal of Global Responsibility Article

With thanks to our Emerald Insights colleagues, we're pleased to share complimentary access to a Journal of Global Responsibility article from the archives each month.

The rule of Saint Benedict and corporate management: employing the whole person
Authors: Birgit Kleymann and Hedley Malloch, IÉSEG School of Management, Catholic University of Lille, Lille, France
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