Inspiration consumes me as we reach the end of the first KLC Global Gathering.
As a Kansan, I am inspired to have all these people from 13 countries and 17 American states plus the District of Columbia visiting the Sunflower State. They have come from Norway (4), Japan (2), Australia, Nigeria (2), India, Mexico (5), France, Ireland (2), Canada, Romania, the Netherlands, Singapore, California (3), Colorado (4), Connecticut (2), District of Columbia, Florida (2), Illinois, Louisiana (2), Massachusetts, Michigan (4), North Carolina, New York (2), Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah (4), Virginia, and Wyoming.
Yemi from Nigeria spent 27 hours traveling to get here and dreams of promoting leadership for the common good through faith based organizations. Edgar and four colleagues are from one of the most violent states in Mexico and hope to return to begin the process of creating a leadership center for the common good. Govind, a retired general in the Indian Armed Forces, feels his country needs a massive infusion of leadership development. They came to Kansas to learn with and from the Kansas Leadership Center. KLC’s vision is to become the center of excellence for civic leadership development. As a Kansan, I’m moved.
As President and CEO of KLC, I am inspired because their being here affirms much of our work over the last six years. KLC is not perfect and will continue to make mistakes and do our best to learn from them. But, the presence of so many people from so far tells me we are on to something. Our ideas resonate. There is a hunger in Kansas and beyond for authentic leadership for the common good. There is a desire for a type of civic engagement that is frank, effective, purposeful, provocative and engaging. People are coming to the KLC to learn how to satisfy those hungers and desires.
As a citizen of the world, I am inspired. My understanding about the common longings of all people has advanced significantly during these days. Our cultures are different, yet I’m discovering all of us struggle to embody the way of being for leadership – empathy for opponents, courage to step forward, patience to work for the long haul, flexibility to work within ambiguity, a bias for action even when the status quo is comfortable, the list goes on. The biggest barriers to exercising leadership are human, not cultural, dimensions.
Because of this gathering there are dreams being hatched to create leadership centers for the common good in Mexico, Ireland, India, Nigeria, Canada, Norway, Romania and elsewhere. Someday people will reflect on the origins of those great civic ventures. They’ll discuss the visionary local founders who didn’t give up. They’ll discuss the difference those centers have made in their communities and countries. And, they’ll reflect on this gathering in Kansas, where their founders came together with citizens of the world to dream of a better way forward and to learn from Kansans working for the common good.