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Making Leadership Skills Scalable, Affordable and Accessible

Interview with Amb. Christian Dussey

Ten months into the GCSP - Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) Alliance for Advancing Leadership in Peace and Security, we caught up with GCSP Director, Ambassador Christian Dussey, to find out what has been achieved so far, how the new courses have been received and what lessons have been learned.

Could you remind us what the Alliance is and why it is needed?

In September 2015, the GCSP partnered with CCL, a top-ranked, global provider of executive education, to launch the Alliance for Advancing Leadership across all peace and security sectors. We did this to provide much needed support to organisations that have traditionally been excluded from accessing elite executive education either for financial reasons or because of minimal relevance to the significant and complex challenges they face. Our purpose is to help individuals and organisations get better at leading to achieve their desired futures faster and more sustainably.


What has the Alliance achieved so far?

We have already trained nearly 400 mid- and senior- level leaders and decision-makers from 83 countries. The courses have covered a wide range of leadership aspects from leadership essentials, leading change, leading collaboratively and across-disciplines to strategic leadership in RUPT (Rapid, Unpredictable, Paradoxical, and Tangled) situations.

In addition to using the latest research from CCL, we are engaging with several international organisations and ministries to source input on how to best develop impactful leadership cultures and increase capacity in these and other areas.

The Alliance is also recognised as being able to infuse leadership expertise and content into capacity building organisations to create greater impact with their beneficiaries.


What feedback are you receiving from participants?

We pay particular attention to asking our beneficiaries what is essential to them in terms of leadership and then design learning experiences to meet these needs. We take a continuous evaluation and improvement approach and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so far, here are some examples:


'I have participated in a number of excellent leadership development experiences in my career in the military, and this leadership week was exceptional and outstanding! I enthusiastically recommend it.'

Participant in GCSP’s 8-month residential master’s course


“This program has a superb blend of a strongly interactive and diverse group of peers from the public and private sector. The insights and learning stretched me immeasurably and required me to expand my understanding of what leadership needs to look like in the 21st century for both the public and private sectors.”

Participant in the 3-day course Leading and Influencing with Impact


What are you learning about leading in the peace and security context that makes it different from other sectors and how is that informing your work? 

When you have the level of diversity in the room that we have here at the GCSP, cross-cultural, conflicting views must be leveraged, not just acknowledged. History, religion, and even trauma are often present, so the learning experience needs to be innovative and meaningful — not trivial.

This lays the foundation for personal transformation in an accelerated and stimulating fashion. We prioritise thinking-in-action while at the same time grounding our approach in the latest research from CCL, and the GCSP.


What’s next for the Alliance?

There is a lot to come! We will soon be announcing new dates for our open-enrolment leadership courses in Geneva for the autumn of 2016 and we are planning our 2017 schedule as we speak.

We are also partnering with organisations and networks both small and large whose mission is aligned with ours, to support their internal leadership development.

The overall aim is to empower a network of leaders with the mind sets, skill sets and tool sets to become the best leaders they can be in their chosen fields, and to help develop others to do the same. We are looking for the multiplier effect to make what we have to offer scalable, affordable and accessible to anyone who wants to learn!