"How must it feel to find yourself face-to-face with someone who has made it clear that he has the power to bring your world to an end, and has every intention of doing so?" - Amitav Ghosh
Dear Partners, Associates and friends of GRLI
In this newsletter, we note that GRLI's 2022 external advocacy continued with our participation at the recent EFMD Deans & Directors Conference as well as the Responsible Management Education Affinity Group meeting at AACSB Deans. We also welcomed a global gathering for the year's first Courageous Conversation on 'Hope in a Time of Collapse' facilitated by Chris Taylor and Lana Jelenjev.
As I write this note, the crises that affect everyone, everywhere - the unrelenting climate emergency and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic - are vividly evident in the world's headlines by Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
We are fully supportive of the recent joint announcement by our strategic partners AACSB and EFMD Global that they are suspending all membership and accreditation activities with Russian institutions until further notice. The Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and so too with all other victims of war, illegal occupation and armed conflict around the globe.
I find myself contemplating the question at the heart of the first essay in Amitav Ghosh's 2021 book The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis.
How must it feel? We need only to examine our own reality to consider the staggering losses detailed in the recent IPCC impacts report, the start of the third week of war on Ukraine, and the start of the third year of the COVID-19 crisis.
But whilst headlines focus at the moment on Ukraine, we would do well to consider that war, the pandemic, and the climate crisis are all symptoms, and they cannot be solved by the ways they are perpetuated. Until the root causes of environmental and social injustice are addressed, war and fossil fuel remain fused in a 'primal bond', in Ghosh's words, further accelerating the climate emergency. On this point, Ghosh continues:
'How do you reduce your dependence on the very "resources" on which your geopolitical power is founded? How do you reduce the fossil-fuel consumption of a gargantuan military machine that exists largely to serve as a "delivery service" for hydrocarbons?'
This is the context of interdependent crises where we continue to work towards Global Responsibility, guided by GRLI's 2022 mode of operation: Action-first amplification, Bridge-building between and beyond our communities, and Catalysing whole person connections to sustain whole system change.
It is with great pleasure that we welcome three new Associate Partners to the GRLI community. In coming weeks we will welcome a host of new Independent Associates, further extending the reach of our community and our capacity for bridge-building and catalysing whole person connections.
Looking ahead, we are finalizing plans for a re-set of the GRLI Deans Cohort Roundtable, with an in-person gathering as soon as the third or fourth quarter of 2022. Alongside the Cohort, GRLI Partners, Associates and friends will continue to connect throughout the year at Partner Pods and Courageous Conversations.
An exciting opportunity to connect is at the 16-18 March Responsible Leadership Reimagined conference, hosted by the Centre for Responsible Leadership Studies (University of Stellenbosch Business School), in collaboration with the Allan Gray Centre for Values-based Leadership (University of Cape Town), the Albert Luthuli Leadership Institute (University of Pretoria) and the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative.
This week is also the deadline for contributions by GRLI Partners and Associates to the 2022 EFMD Global Focus magazine special issue on Global Responsibility.
The IPCC's Summary Document for Policy Makers closes with the following two sentences:
"The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all."
When searching for spaces where we can make sense of the uncertainty around us, it may be tempting to draw ourselves into smaller and smaller circles when we should be acting in concert with others. We invite you to reach towards others who may not share all your perspectives on divisive issues, for the purpose of achieving positive change on the deeper issues that connect us. The invasion of Ukraine does not bode well for the development of global responsibility. Transformative and catalytic connections across boundaries and borders are becoming more important than ever. Let us act the call!