On June 24 I gave the closing remarks at the UN Global Learning Managers Forum (LMF) in Turin, Italy on the social responsibility of learning, training and staff development in global organizations. It was an absolutely stellar learning platform: the calibre of content and structure was at the very highest standards to allow for a truly great knowledge exchange among 39 Learning Managers from 35 UN Agencies globally. Before I facilitated a discussion on how they each might best engage their respective internal and external stakeholders, I observed as they shared with each other in various modules on a broad spectrum of important topics. They are at the cutting edge of utilizing new technologies to reach staff throughout the world.
While the politics of the UN sometimes has sometimes discouraged me in the past, listening to the innovative solutions being successfully implemented by the UN Learning Managers gave me, perhaps for the first time, a feeling of absolute certainty that UN reform can and will take place because of them. Working on extremely limited budgets under tremendously challenging circumstances, UN Learning Managers are using enormous intelligence and creativity to offer their respective staffs the best possible mechanisms for development.
It is a credit to each and everyone of them and to the Learning and Training Services team of the UN System Staff College that they not only are coming up with fantastic ways to improve human-capacity building and the infrastructure systems that can support that but they also are sharing with each other – at forums such as this one and in between – their best practices. The Learning Managers asked me the most probative questions and offered brilliant suggestions to each other in response to these queries about what had worked and hadn’t in their efforts to engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
As they leverage their respective endeavors in this way, they are contributing to one UN system that is, in fact, far greater than the sum of its parts. Kudos to each of them and to the teams they’ve assembled! I am humbled by their remarkable efforts. As I said when I spoke, the private sector could learn a thing or two – actually many things – from the fantastic initiatives of the UN Learning Managers supported so strongly by the UNSSC. Since they represent the dedicated UN staff who are providing humanitarian, peacekeeping and development services of all types, they truly are the hope for a better world.
Please share in comments below about how you handle learning for the members of your global teams, whether in the for- or not-for-profit realm. Include links to your websites.
On a more personal note, while Jerry and I have celebrated Fourth of July in South Africa and Ireland, this is the first time we did so as ex-pats living in Switzerland. We went to Buvette de la Plage, a wonderful grill at our local beach in Lutry on Lake Geneva where the closest thing to a hot dog is a saucisson. Wave after wave of our new friends joined us and, in Vaudois tradition, bought wine for us to enjoy with them late into the night. Three days earlier, we were at the opening day of the Montreaux Jazz festival just a few towns away: very special!