Cumbria professor first UK academic to attend Harvard leadership programme

The director of the University of Cumbria’s new Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) has been selected to join a group of world leaders in business and politics to study the latest leadership approaches at Harvard University.

Professor Jem Bendell, named a ‘Young Global Leader’ by the World Economic Forum, will attend the Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century programme in Cambridge, USA in March.

Young Global Leaders are chosen by the forum for having demonstrated leadership for the common good on a global stage, and include people such as Kumi Naidoo (Greenpeace CEO), Hannah Jones (Head of Sustainability at Nike), and Chuka Umunna MP. The Forum of Young Global Leaders meets this Monday in Davos, Switzerland, ahead of the Davos Summit.

Professor Bendell is the first academic from the UK to be accepted onto the programme and says:

“I am delighted to be accepted on to this Harvard programme, which gives me the chance to experience the latest approaches to leadership education, and also to share our own approaches in the Lake District.

“Harvard provides elite education to some of the world’s most influential people, in a class-based setting. In Cumbria we have a tradition of experiential learning, and a liking for taking our executive students into nature and to local heritage sites, to stimulate their reflection. I think in future we will see more combinations of such approaches.”

Through a partnership between the Harvard Kennedy School, the Center for Public Leadership and the World Economic Forum, the programme has been developed to expand and enhance the leadership skills of Young Global Leaders, necessary to address the world’s most serious problems. The curriculum considers critical global policy areas such as education, environment, global health, international development, and security, and is provided free of charge due to sponsorship.

As the world’s first professor of sustainability leadership, Dr Bendell recognises the need to blend insights from leadership development and the challenge of sustainable development. “Ultimately we need to better understand how to lead across borders, for the greater good, not only for our organisation,” he explains.

Currently, the University of Cumbria’s Business School and IFLAS manage, with the Robert Kennedy College (Switzerland), the world’s largest specialistsustainability MBA programme, with over 1000 students registered for the online modules, and over 300 students from over 100 countries having attended residentials in the Ambleside Lake District campus last year.

IFLAS is also launching a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership, for specialists in this field, and offering two funded scholarships (deadline for scholarships is 31 January 2014).