Our staff, along with an international team, is designing the curriculum and coaching methodology for the “Nelson Mandela Leadership Institute” (NMLI). It will train young and existing political, religious and business leaders to align with the Bridges approach. This approach is Messiah-centric and promotes paradigm transformation through renewed ways of thinking and engaging one’s enemy. The Center will be a “legacy” to the people of CAR, which will improve the quality and impact of future leaders in this region. The center can also provide a base for future networking in education, business or spiritual arenas.
Opportunities & Challenges: Wonderful things are happening in Africa, and the world is taking notice. After describing it as “The Hopeless Continent,” in 2010, The Economist’s cover now calls attention to “The Hopeful Continent.”
7 of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are African, and the continent has the world’s fastest growing middle class. 80% of the continent’s GDP comes from consumable goods, rather than mining or commodities. Both African and international investors are seeing tremendous long-term potential in vast untapped natural resources, untouched arable land, natural preserves and the potential of ecotourism, and millions of Africans increasingly participating in the global consumer cycle. The explosive expansion of the internet and the availability of cheap smart phones are creating tremendous entrepreneurial opportunities among people of all economic levels.
In spite of notable opportunities, Africa also faces daunting challenges. The shadow of radical Islamic terrorism, tribal and religious violence, and horrific genocide hangs over the land. The exploding youth population faces an uncertain future. In some areas, inadequate infrastructure strains daily life and undermines fundamental law and order. Lack of environmental health offsets the potential of untapped natural resources. Corrupt leadership stuck in graft and tribalism perpetuates the cycle of violence and instability.
The good news is that democracies in Africa have risen from three in 1989 to 23 in 2003. Some incompetent leaders have been ousted from power because of the discontent of Africa’s youth. Increasingly connected youth across the continent yearn for a voice, and will not be silenced. Spreading social media and internet hubs – especially among young people – make peacemaking, social change and innovation increasingly viable.
Purpose of The Nelson Mandela Leadership Institute: Bridges To Common Ground (“Bridges”) seeks to address these realities and help bridge the gap by creating the Nelson Mandela Leadership Institute (“NLMI”) in Bangui, C.A.R., in partnership with key African national leadership, business interests and civic foundations along with leading international coaching organizations and NGOs.
The institute will bring leaders and coaches together in areas of pressing need, including: Values-Based Leadership Development, Environmental Sustainability, Youth Development, Community Development, Peacemaking & Reconciliation, Education & Health Care, Economic Development & Entrepreneurship, Arts, Media, & Technology
Primary Goal: To facilitate a coaching movement and peaceful revolution such that CAR will become the envy of surrounding nations. How? NMLI will bring coaches, organizations, and leaders together to develop and provide coaching tracks in these critical areas. First priority will be given to developing values-based leadership, pathways for youth, and peacemaking and reconciliation, with other areas soon to follow. NMLI will serve as a regional resource, and a reproducible model for use in the surrounding nations. The initiative will focus on equipping and empowering current and emerging C.A.R. leaders, catalyzing movement in conjunction with those committed to help the country arise as a vibrant nation in the heart of this Hopeful Continent.
DNA: The DNA of the institute will be based on the best of the Christian and Islamic faiths, African tradition and Western thought, and contemporary non-violent movements.
Christianity & Islam: The NMLI will focus on the leadership qualities and principles of Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad and how they facilitated peacemaking and conflict resolution.
Funding: NMLI will be funded primarily by businesses and individuals who desire a better future for C.A.R. and increased stability and prosperity in the region, who are committed to peacemaking, reconciliation, non-violence, and other values central to the work of Bridges.