We are the ones we've been waiting for

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“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” said Thomas Banyanca, the Hopi Elder, as he delivered the Hopi Prophecy at the United Nations on December 10, 1992. Finally, after forty years of knocking on the door of the United Nations, Thomas was invited to speak in the General Assembly. I was invited to escort him to the reception. We became friends. I saw him next at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1993.  Though he died in 1999, I continue to bring his message into my leadership courses by showing the video of Thomas delivering the historic prophecy in the General Assembly http://vimeo.com/20313287.


Thomas focused his remarks that day on the need for a relationship with the Great Spirit and a reverence for Mother Earth. He called for a change in consciousness in all people. 


In the current climate change crisis, i am aware that people are not turning to the Great Spirit but instead are often consumed with fear, revenge, and anger.

Thomas and his message helped me first live and then teach Reconciliation Leadership courses to redefine leadership for a living economy—a leadership in right relationship to the earth and its resources. Key elements are a new value system highlighting personal mission and a partnership with the Great Spirit for a sustainable, multi-ethnic peace and a re-definition of politics.

The philosophy and practice of leadership needs to change from a top-down model to one of a patchwork quilt—with each of us stepping up to our patch claiming our mission and purpose, influence, empowerment, and consciousness. The claiming of leaders needs to be a vocational calling to influence (rather than coerce) and empower (rather than tell people what to do) through self awareness, knowledge and a willingness to be a listen to the Great Spirit or God in each of us.

Reconciliation Leadership offers personal, interpersonal, systemic and global competencies that arises from the participant leader’s personal mission– unique in its combination of the spiritual and the practical, and its attention to root causes of conflict.  It is a leadership model based on an emerging and seasoned leader’s special gifts, unique calling, practical idealism, as well as drawing on the political, moral, and psychological aspects of leadership needed for today’s financial, social and personal challenges.

Reconciliation Leaders embody a philosophy of life, a way of being, where one leads by example and vision.  A philosophy of life is cultivated by clarifying ones vocational calling as well as clarifying where one can apply the gifts. Knowing ones gifts and talents is the foundation upon which leadership is practiced. When clarified in a vocational assessment process, one can be confident about these core talents and have the confidence to withstand tremendous stress and resistance in a world of temporal power. Making all things new.

The competencies are needed to address conflict and its underlying causes, leaders must be culturally sensitive and culturally humble, they must go through a personal transformation in order to learn a competency. Building cultural and conflict competency–sensitivity, tact and kind regard with gender, culture, religious and ethnicity issues–is a key goal of the training.

Leadership is based on a vocational approach to leadership, educating people about the use of elicitive (rather than prescriptive) listening and trust-building to harness the inherent goodness in each individual, group, and community.  How one responds or reacts emotionally is either healthy or unhealthy, leading to valuing or devaluing behavior.

Many popular leadership models offer top-down disempowerment approaches and are not committed to long-term, sustainable goals. Vocation as a philosophy of life is essential to any new leadership model: a job or career is not enough for the commitment needed for the complexity of 21st century problems. We need to have a mindset to create a peace system with nonviolent approaches to address subtle and overt manipulation and coercion, reversing the current practice of threat and deterrence.  Using their gifts and talents, in combination with an assessment of what is needed to bring healing to a conflict, Reconciliation Leaders develop elicitive frameworks and rituals that restore unity and shared community.

The shared sense of community, formed through a sustained dialogue, can help generate new and relevant policy options that will keep communities intact; in addition, with an established pattern of this new way of communicating, individuals and communities can also remain at lower levels of conflict. .  (To learn more about Reconciliation Leadership go to www.global-leader.org and click on Leadership Programs.)