Dag Hammarskjöld on the Art of Ethical Leadership

The Institute for Global Leadership invites emerging and seasoned leaders to join us to find your center of stillness surrounded by silence, open your innermost sacred door, re-examine your mission, learn new skills, and develop a broad worldview for a Reconciliation Leadership approach to leadership, including a Code of Ethics as written in Politics and Conscience and Hammarskjöld’s leadership needed for our times.

Through the Institute for Global Leadership, she founded after 9/11, Virginia Swain is a partner with Global Ethics Day of the Carnegie Council for International Ethics by hosting educational events.  See an interview with author Dr. Roger Lipsey about Dag Hammarskjöld. More of Virginia’s interviews Rev. David Woessner, Daniel Perell, JD, Sam Onapa, and Fergus Watts can be found  here.

The Code of Ethics that Hammarskjold 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 that shows one’s spiritual/religious quest and understanding in relation to one’s public role, self-knowledge, the role of time, perseverance, patience, courage and maturity of mind, among others.

Virginia’s memoir, above, tells the story of a Phoenix coming to her in a dream during the World Trade Center attack on 9/11 while she was in New York at the UN attending a meeting. After meditating with the Phoenix for 17 years, Virginia was prompted to begin with America’s Soul Community in 2017, to take America beyond individual and group egoism—a renaissance that would help the USA overcome the fear and mistrust that keep us so separate and isolated from each other and from the rest of the world. 

Virginia addresses the problematic role of the United States in the UN, with dialogues about America transforming itself into being an equal global partner on the world stage.  Through the Phoenix, we transform the current moral and spiritual leadership in America, to bring love, forgiveness, and compassion to the world. 

A full view of the mural. 1/Aug/1985. UN Photo/Lois Conner. www.unmultimedia.org/photo/

The Phoenix brings a spiritual renaissance with forgiveness of human frailties.

It symbolizes love as a hearth that the faithful may gather around.

Enmity must pass from humanity.

Generosity and compassion mark the enlightened man and woman.

Our hearts will recognize other enlightened people.

A common Creator recognizes everyone as brother and sister.

Humanity can conquer fear and loneliness and experience a perpetual birth of daily love, adoration, and joy.

The Phoenix asks us to look for the dawning in one another.

(Excerpted from My Soul’s Journey to Redefine Leadership: A New Phoenix Rises from the Ashes of 9/11, page 137)

In the Phoenix context of a shared moral and spiritual vision for the world, the Institute supports the call from UN Secretary-General António Guterres to restore the United Nations mandate by re-launching his COVID-19 Global Ceasefire on UN Day, October 24, 2020. In a June 24, 2020, presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Academic Council for the United Nations, the Institute supported this initiative by offering a strategy called Image and Action for Peacebuilding.

The Phoenix, given as a vision of peace after the end of World War II and the founding of the United Nations, is pictured above in a mural, painted by the Norwegian artist Per Krogh in the colors and style reminiscent of a tapestry. The mural was donated in 1952 by Norway to the United Nations. It decorates the Security Council Chamber. The mural symbolizes the changes the world will undergo because of the efforts of the UN, and of mankind in general, to achieve peace, equality, and freedom. There have been nearly 300 wars since then.  Humanity has failed to keep the peace since the founding of the United Nations.

In their book Images of the Future, Drs. Elise and Kenneth Boulding developed an important tool to motivate behavior in the present by using images of the future, drawing on the theory that people cannot create something they have not envisioned from their imagination. After imaging a positive future, one can work back into present time to realize a positive present with a timeline and concrete action steps. The Institute has used the imagining process successfully over the years to empower adults and children to live their dreams. Listen to Dr. Sayeed with Virginia Swain, speak of imaging here and Virginia on “Visionary Leadership” on United Nations Day in 2011.  Participants in Virginia Swain’s classes at the United Nations create solutions unimagined before.

Below, see how a composite image done by a creative group of people over six months in 2020 images an awakening with the Phoenix. The group named the image A Global Awakening: New Earth in Wellness, Light and Love.

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