How can young values-based leadership contribute to sustainable development and achieving the 2030 Agenda? This was one of the questions in focus when inspirational figures from all over the world gathered together with grant-holders from H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf’s Foundation for Young Leadership and representatives of foreign embassies and the public sector to take part in a workshop.

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The workshop took place on World Teachers’ Day on 5 October and was hosted by the Foundation for Young Leadership in collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs as part of the #FirstGeneration initiative. The workshop was led by the 2016 recipient of the Compass Rose grant, Hannah Stanton. State Secretary Ulrika Modéer and Rebecca Sundberg, manager of the Foundation for Young Leadership, were in attendance to welcome participants.

“The 2030 Agenda requires fresh ideas and innovative thinking to succeed. This is why we are pleased that we, together with the Foundation for Young Leadership, have this opportunity to hear about your ideas and thoughts. We hope that the network we create here today contributes to efforts to achieve the Global Goals,” said Ms Modéer in her opening address.

Engagement and relationship-building are important superpowers

The workshop included many interesting and inspiring moments. First, the participants chose one of the seventeen Global Goals and then explained why that goal in particular was close to their heart. Participants then had discussions in smaller groups and decided what their superpowers would be. A lot of important qualities were raised here, and one recurring theme was genuine engagement and relationship-building. Some of the superpowers mentioned included:

  • Being a good listener and cooperating well.
  • Being able to inspire.
  • Not giving up, even when there are setbacks.
  • Being good at relationship-building and networking.
  • Being open to learning.
  • Feeling empathy and being good at teamwork.
  • Being passionate and compassionate.
  • Being able to influence young people and students.

Good roots are the foundation of long-term engagement

During the second part of the workshop, the groups were given various problems linked to the Global Goals. The task was to draw a problem tree with roots, a trunk and branches. Hannah Stanton explained that the tree’s roots often represented factors that can help the tree to grow steadily, as well as factors that can curb growth, and in the worst case scenario make the tree sick. To make the tree healthy again, the bad roots need to be countered with good roots.

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The groups agreed that typical bad roots included lack of education and transparency, or the fact that engagement is all too often based on anger and aggression. Good roots could instead be stable and solid institutions and good opportunities for accountability – which combined with decisiveness and passion can result in a pass-it-on effect and long-term engagement in achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Photo: Foundation for Young Leadership/Nathalie Malic