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Leading Like Mandela: Peace and reconciliation

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

The first Seminar of Ubuntu United Nations was AMAZING !

"The phrase: “We are branches of the same tree” really resonated with me, such a powerful statement is the perfect framework to define is as human beings and that no matter our differences we are bonded with each other. "

These were some of the moments the participants highlighted from the first Ubuntu United Nations seminar "Leading Like Mandela: Peace and Reconciliation".

With over 600 participants from 190 countries, the difference in timezones was noticeable as we could see some of the participants windows, that showed the daytime and night time. Despite that, the smiles in their faces shadowed the fact that some of them had to wake up early so that they could attend the webinar !

The seminar that presented the life of Nelson Mandela was also putting emphasizes on its ability to reconcile and forgive others for its wrongful imprisonment, hence the topic being Peace and Reconciliation. And to speak about it, the seminar contained interventions from both guest speakers with experience in conflict resolution, such as Mr. Adama Dieng, former UN Special Advisor and the Bishop Emeritus of Oslo, Gunnar J.Stallset. It also featured conversations between delegates from countries in the process of reconciliation or with past conflicts, such as India and Pakistan ( Aradhana Baruah and Rameesa Khan), Colombia (Emanuel Castillo) and Rwanda (Marie Merci).

The seminar started with John Volmink speaking introductory words, explaining why Nelson Mandela was such an iconic servant leader, exposing his traits and the meaning of servant leadership, that although paradoxal, it is by no means a falsehood, but a state of confidence and inspiration. Her Royal Highness Princess Rym Ali, co-chair of the initiative, joined him to share her thoughts on peace and how it is a continuous process where all the parties involved must act with the humility to recognize wrongdoings and aim to cooperate towards a better and peaceful future.

The true importance of being a servant leader and it was great to get reminded of the need for forgiveness, humility, perseverance and leading by example. The presentations from delegates were also very interesting in terms of historical introduction and vision of future young leaders.

Mr. Adama Dieng and Bishop Emeritus of Oslo, this seminar's guest speakers took the stage in the shape of a Zoom virtual room highlight, to express their contentment with a program who aims to engage youth leaderships from all over the world, and call upon them to debate global affairs, while further developing their social and emotional skills, centered around the Ubuntu philosophy which, according to the Bishop of Oslo is

an expression of a universal bond that unites every human beings (...) It is a simple statement and yet so revolutionary human and so movingly spiritual.

As if the interventions of the Guest Speakers weren't enough, characteristic to all seminars is the moment where delegates take the stage to share their collaborative work as they present the history of their countries and the steps being taken to ensure that peace is of paramount importance.

You can watch all the interventions here:

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