The Global Leadership Challenge is a three-week intensive program hosted by the University of Oregon where like-minded individuals gather from all around the world to solve the problems of our world. This program provides the experiences for community-based learning, cross-cultural collaboration and the development of leadership skills.
There are two parts to the program, the first part focuses on workshops, lectures and building skills with facilitators of the program. These workshops and lectures take place in the first two weeks of the program, where we meet twice a week on zoom to prepare us with the skills required to carry out the second part of the program, which is solving the case challenge. These workshops are focused on developing one’s cultural and social awareness. Guest speakers from different areas of expertise were invited to talk about their experiences with cross-cultural communication, social issues, and leadership challenges that they face.
I was assigned to work with a non-profit group called BRING. BRING’s goal is to educate both consumers and producers about the importance of a circular economy and leverage organisational resources to change consumer and producer behaviour. Our challenge was to empower consumers of Eugene, Oregon to participate and promote a circular economy. I found this experience extremely valuable, as I was able to learn about the culture and history of Eugene through interacting with program attendees from the University of Oregon. With that in mind, we were able to take these factors into account and incorporate them into our solution to mitigate any imbalances in different social groups.
Besides providing a solution to our case, an important takeaway from this program is learning how to overcome social and cultural barriers. Although there are many challenges such as conflicting timezones and thought processes, I believe that it was an invaluable experience that will compel people to view societal problems from different perspectives. Working with real community stakeholders has given me the opportunity to connect and make meaningful connections with people who care about making a difference, it was fascinating to hear about the different approaches that were implemented. It was also empowering to see everyone gathered in the same place with the same purpose of improving the world that we live in. If you are a student who is interested in virtual programmes, I greatly recommend the Global Leadership Challenge.
If you are concerned about not being able to get the same experience as an in-person program, this is a highly interactive program and you will unknowingly find yourself immersed in the programme. As a small group of 30, the facilitators are extremely helpful and approachable, you will get all the help that you need and opportunities to connect with experienced professionals. This is a great time to take advantage of these opportunities since they will not be always available. As our world becomes increasingly globalised with technology, global collaboration will only become more normalised and accessible in the future. And I believe that this would be a great skill for anyone to advance in their future career and become more connected with the world.