20 March 2014

Happy "International Day of Happiness" - book recommendation for Robert Muller, former UN leader

Happy International Day of Happiness! The UN General Assembly resolution 66/281 in 2012 proclaimed 20 March the International Day of Happiness recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world.

I have written in an earlier article why I agree that we urgently need an approach that aims at a higher goal rather materialistic 'wealth' in my blog on "Happiness as a UN goal? The Inside-Out Development Paradigm?". A happiness day can raise awareness with people and policy makers alike to explore more holistic approaches to human development.

"The world needs a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”
-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon 

One of the most inspiring books in this regard I have ever read is "Most of All, They Taught Me Happiness" by Robert Muller (here on Amazon). The book is a fascinating life story of an authentic person embodying the spirit and value of the UN. I therefore highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be inspired and learn about the UN's evolution.

Muller fought in WWII and developed a passion to overcome wars by uniting countries beyond borders. He first joined the UN as an intern and rose through the ranks over a 40 year career to become Assistant Secretary-General under three Secretary-General.

He was known by some as "the philosopher of the UN" and his ideas about world government, world peace and spirituality led to the increased representation of spirituality in the UN.  As a visionary leader he was instrumental in the founding of numerous UN agencies and programmes, including UNDP and WFP. Muller received numerous awards and was nominated repeated times for the Peace Nobel Price.

"Are you happy? Decide to be happy! Happiness is a state of mind, a conscious, determined decision or will to embrace with fascination, enthusiasm the entire world and creation. Happiness is total consciousness. Happiness is not external to man, it is a genial force in him, an attribute, an essence of the human person."
-Robert Muller, former UN leader

His legacy lives on in many inspired coworkers and people, and also in the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica whose first Chancellor he became after retirement. Muller furthermore documented over 7000 'idea-dreams' who are disseminated in a daily, inspiring newsletter (sign up here).

03 March 2014

Developing Transformative Leaders: 2014 programme open for registration

Interesting for all UN staff, consultants and Global Compact member companies working with the UN, is this "Transformative Leaders" 2014 Training Programme which I had the honour to co-create and also participate in last year.

I am delighted to invite you to engage in an exciting leadership programme being offered by the UN Transformation Network - a network of innovators and change makers in the UN system who want to transform the UN from within.  Last year, our first programme generated excellent feedback and so, due to its success, we want to build on the momentum and launch more sessions.  The practical skills I gained in communicating, inspiring others and leading in complex situations was especially impressive.  It helped me achieve my learning goals of leading positive change and innovation as well as connect with like-minded colleagues. 

The overall intention of this leadership programme is to build the skills and capacities of UN staff - at all levels - so as to increase personal effectiveness and to evolve the UN system to have greater impact and relevancy.  We hope to catalyze UN innovation and collaboration to enable colleagues to deliver even more powerful results in the field.  This is a transformative inside-out approach to development as we believe that leadership potential exists within everyone, regardless of role.  The time is now to harness our wisdom and creative intelligence because the sustainable solutions we seek reside within each of us. One of the best part of this course is being part of a bright, innovative and motivated group of peers who generated support for doing things differently.

As one participants from UNDP BDP said, "The course introduced us into a new world about transformation and leadership. It's not enough to have the motivation to be a leader or an innovator, you need the knowledge and skills to understand change, see how this plays out within organizational cultures and structures, and manage the processes to guide transformation. The course filled this vacuum." Another colleague from the Ethiopia Country Office said, "It gave me the confidence to speak up and the skill set take positive action."

Please note that there are both in-person and on-line cohorts and all UN agency staff and consultants are welcome to participate.  The NY session starts on April 3rd, the Geneva session starts on March 27th.  I am currently working on creating an in-person course for Addis Ababe in fall 2014, please email me in case your are interested.

For more details on this unique programme, please visit: http://transformative-leaders.org.  Feel free to pass this message onto other colleagues who may be interested. There are limited seats so I encourage you to take action!  Lastly, please consider joining our LinkedIn network group - the link is below.  We now have over 300 members world-wide, consisting of all UN stakeholders, and the conversation keeps growing.

Warm regards
UN Transformation Network (Co-leads: Patrick McNamara, Juergen Nagler, Elizabeth Soltis, Ian Thorpe)
Visit http://transformative-un-leaders.org
Join http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4469347

PS: Thanks a lot to Patrick McNamara for drafting the brochure and excellent facilitation work, and to Elizabeth Soltis for inspiration and a lot of the text of this article.