Leadership and Development for the Global Problématique.

The Institute for Global Leadership supports the United Nations Day call of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to restore the United Nations mandate, for a bold Covid19 Global Ceasefire in a presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Academic Council for the United Nations in June 2020. Addressing the problematic role of the United States in the UN, we’ve had dialogues for America’s growth to be a better global partner since 2017. Drawing from a rich history of presentations and practice to restore faith in humanity since 1991 and inspired by Dag Hammarskjöld, we offer the perspectives, tools and techniques of Reconciliation Leaders and a spiritual renaissance for the global common ground created from the COVID19 pandemic.

About the Institute for Global Leadership

We invite emerging and seasoned leaders to join us for coaching and training to re-examine your mission and learn new skills and perspectives for a Reconciliation Leadership approach to a spiritual renaissance in a COVID19 world. You will also learn why historic attempts to reform the United Nations have failed. In a 200-year present, we offer opportunities for professionals to learn a new approach to leadership and development as well as a broad systems-thinking worldview, In a crossroads moment of institutional, social, ecological and economic global history, we’ve been restoring faith in humanity at the United Nations since 1991 for the Global Problématique and a world in need of leadership.

Virginia Swain founded the Institute for Global Leadership in response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. She drew on her experience in New York during the World Trade Center attacks, as well as 25 years of experience in the United Nations conceiving, developing and training Reconciliation Leaders since 1991. At the United Nations conference on the Environment and Development (popularly known as the Earth Summit in 1992) ,Virginia perceived a deep-seated need to offer Reconciliation Leaders and a Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service to the United Nations and wider world. Listen to the impact of Reconciliation Leadership as practiced by two of its graduates, Dr. Sam Onapa and Dr. Sarah Sayeed.

As a member of the Global Compact since it began, we engage its ten principles.  Additionally, we fully support the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals with special expertise in SDG16+ for peaceful societies and SDG17 for Revitalizing a Global Partnership. The United Nations Interagency Framework Team for Preventive Action at UNDP welcomed five Reconciliation Leaders as they presented Reconciliation Leaders for Sustainable Development in 2013. A plan for a Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service, a little-known global security system already part of the Charter, was presented at a speaking engagement at the Hague Appeal for Peace in 1999 and at the State of the World Forum in 1999. In an earlier series where Virginia Swain was an invited participant, the Abolishing War Series with Peace Scholars Boulding and Forsberg, she was concerned about a lack of reference to the United Nations and wrote a commentary—The United Nations, the Peacebuilding Institute and Servant Leadership.

As the Institute restores faith in leadership, emerging and seasoned leaders learn from the Dag Hammarskjöld Code of Ethics and a Phoenix rising from the ashes of ground zero in Virginia Swain’s dream the night of 9/11 (see image below right) when she was in New York during the World Trade Center attacks.  After 17 years of sitting with the Phoenix in meditation, Virginia invites leaders to learn, through American and global communities she creates, how to be global citizens living locally.  Many people are called to be of service—in partnership and collaboration with others—so that we can creatively participate in co-creating our destiny, in whatever language we use for our Creator. An earlier Phoenix image (left below) was gifted by Norway to symbolize the end of World War II and was placed in the UN Security Council. Unfortunately, there have been more than 400 wars since then.

The Institute for Global Leadership takes actions to restore faith in leadership:

Leadership Agility

A colleague and friend, the late Nan Merrill, author and columnist, wrote, “September 11, 2001, will long be remembered as a terrible and shocking tragedy. Forever vivid will be the memory of how our nation and the world joined in solidarity with nations and peoples devastated by war and violence.”

People, institutions and nations need maturation to work for common interest in a COVID19 world. The Institute recognizes all human beings, institutions, nations and multilateral organizations for their uniqueness, need and capacity for transformation.  Reconciliation leaders use leadership agility to assess where experts, the lowest level of leadership, could grow to become catalytic leaders.

Central to our work is healing the cycle of violence. We address the historic cycle of violence with a strategy through the Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service as seen through the visual below, reprinted with permission from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Listen to the impact of Reconciliation Leadership by one of its graduates, Sam Onapa.

Reconciliation Leaders address the cycle of violence by helping people through the outer circle towards reconciliation—including re-humanizing the enemy, grief, acceptance and forgiveness.  

Learn about the Reconciliation Leadership Certificate Program and case studies of how the Institute reconciles protracted challenges in a Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service with the Peace-building Process.  We will build on our rich history for a post-9/11 world in years to come.

For a rationale of why Reconciliation Leadership and the Global Mediation and Reconciliation Service are needed for a post-9/11 world, read the following papers presented at the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Conference at Columbia University. Although dated, the papers present the fundamentals of the new leadership and development models in practice and policy.

Dr. Elise Boulding trained Virginia Swain in a researched methodology to image the solution to a challenge. Dr. Boulding argues that we can’t reconcile a challenge unless we can see it in our mind’s eye. Imaging plays a key role in our work. Below, participants use imaging as a way to envision a solution to climate change in one of the Reconciliation Leadership courses taught by Virginia Swain at the United Nations, called Designing and Implementing Interventions for Resistant Systems for Local, Institutional, National and Global Change. We create a timeline and action plan after the image is conceptualized (see below for group image from one of the courses).

Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Executive Director of the Civic Engagement Commission in New York City, speaks about her work as a public servant as a Reconciliation Leader using the imaging process.

Below is Dr. Joseph Baratta’s image on United Nations Reform as he envisioned it in an imaging workshop in 2010. For more about Joseph, go to www.centerglobalcommunitylaw.org.

A Spiritual Renaissance* to Restore Faith in Leadership

Listen to the words of the United Nations 2nd Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, written outside his meditation room, and sung as a chant by Paulette Meier: By inviting each person on this planet to find their center of stillness surrounded by silence, Dag Hammarskjöld changed the definition of peace and global security from outside ourselves to within each of us. We call this spiritual renaissance ‘leadership from the inside out.’

We invite emerging and seasoned leaders to join us for coaching and training to find your center of stillness surrounded by silence, re-examine your mission, learn new skills, and develop a broad worldview for a Reconciliation Leadership approach to leadership and a Code of Ethics written in Politics and Conscience.

Dag Hammarskjöld on the Art of Ethical Leadership

Hammarskjöld wrote the following during his mission to the Middle East–the occasion for the first exercise of shuttle diplomacy–to reduce or eliminate border conflicts:

“Understand—through the stillness. Act—out of the stillness. Prevail—in the stillness” (Markings, 1955, p. 127).

If you are intrigued, one might ask oneself:

  • What is this center of stillness?
  • What is this–is it an alien thing or oddly familiar though perhaps untried?
  • Is this approach possible for me?
  • Does it imply a personal discipline of mind and heart that I already practice, or that I could practice if I could learn it?

Leadership and Development for the Global Problématique

In a 200-year present, we offer opportunities for professionals to learn four levels of competency to build on their mission statement: personal, interpersonal, systemic and global . Our approach to leadership and development has been restoring faith in leadership at the United Nations since 1992 for the Global Problématique and a world in need of leadership. In this crossroads moment of institutional, social, ecological and economic global history our research and practice is needed more than ever.

The Code of Ethics that Hammarskjöld lived by, and that we incorporate in Reconciliation Leadership training, provides an ethical template for leadership for our times. Included in the Code is the Way of a Statesperson which shows one’s spiritual/religious quest and understanding in relation to one’s public role; self-knowledge, perseverance, patience, courage, and maturity of mind. See an interview with author Dr.Roger Lipsey about Dag Hammarskjöld’s Code for Global Ethics Day for the Carnegie Council’s International Ethics Day 2020.

*Hammarskjöld is widely attributed to calling for a spiritual renaissance even though his latest biographer Roger Lipsey, said he never said it. We follow his spiritual leadership example by reading his journal, Markings, published posthumously and invite others to follow his example by living out their lives from the inside out. Lipsey’s memoir, Hammarskjöld: A Life, gives a splendid and engrossing history of Hammarskjöld as UN Secretary-General.


Join Us

We invite you to join us to re-examine your mission, learn new skills and develop a broad worldview in this crossroad moment of institutional, social, ecological, and economic global history. We have been restoring faith in humanity in the United Nations since 1991.

Ready to learn more?

About Virginia: