Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program: Empowering Leaders for Global Collaborative Leadership

by Leonel Requena, Belize, ELP 2015
Written on July 15, 2015.

My experience participating in the ELP 2015 has allowed me to develop new and lasting friendships with passionate leaders from around the world. These leaders share a common vision of stretching hands across oceans, aspiring for a more equitable and solutions oriented approach to confronting the world’s problems. This is the generation of leaders that will foster change and chart the way forward for implementation of the new sustainable development goals.

The challenges are daunting, but when faced with adversity and uncertainty, let no one say “my load is heavy” since we are passersby in a world which is evermore polarized. Addressing environmental, social and economic problems is a shared responsibility. ELP has prepared and inspired a new cadre of bold, determined and pragmatic leaders, passionate for global understanding and outcome-oriented actions. Living three weeks at UC Berkeley, I learned to interface with leaders from various cultures and backgrounds, learning about their stories late at night. I have been able to read facial expressions, perceive deep convictions, and share dreams of the future we want.

The structure and content of the course is comprehensive. The highly qualified and dynamic speakers elicit responses to thought-provoking questions, thus stimulating dynamic sessions. The course has a strong blend of theoretical and practical field visits to various landmarks surrounding the landscape and seascape of San Francisco. The ELP is a living laboratory for experiments that works, where real-world skills are acquired and an innovative platform for knowledge generation and dissemination. The ELP is a unique model for replication, upscaling and mainstreaming in the developing world to achieve sustainable development.

I am grateful to the donors, Dean Keith Gilless, Professor David Zilberman and UC Berkeley for establishing the ELP as an innovative model for professional development and empowerment of leaders from developing economies. As I reflect on the knowledge, skills and network of leaders, I am convinced that there is hope for a better world. I am committed to transferring knowledge and inspiring people towards collaborative leadership one step at a time.

In summary, it does not matter if we live in big cities or in small poor and vulnerable communities, investing in capacity development and environmental stewardship is a win-win solution for sustainable development by applying the adaptive management approach to achieve transformative change.
"A person writing at night may put out the lamp, but the words he has written will remain. It is the same with the destiny we create for ourselves in this world." - Shakyamuni

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