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Leadership Bottoms-Up: Learning from the Grassroots

In November 2014, Melanie Miller Garrett and Lars Dietzel represented the Melton Foundation at the International Civic Society Week in Johannesburg, South Africa.

They were earlier selected to be a part of DEEEP Concorde’s leadership development course called “Explorers’ Journey for Systemic Change: Tackling Root Causes”. In that capacity, they participated in the summit ”Towards a world citizens movement: Learning from the grassroots.” The summit brought together grassroots activists/campaigners to exchange ideas and contacts in order to challenge worldviews and share insights from the ground.

A world citizens’ movement, activated by a ‘compass’ of shared reflection and mutual inquiry seems more in tune with my feelings about what needs to happen. By a compass, I mean a technique that facilitates local practices of inquiry, an unfurling of questions, a reluctance to govern or impose standards, a willingness to observe and listen to circles of renewal and their explorations of how to live life more fascinatingly, a scaled down trans-local sharing of plural wisdoms. (…) A compass reinforces the wisdom of localization, and restores the confidence that people themselves –not their representatives, not lobbyists, not agencies, not policies, and certainly not corporations – can be social actors, not merely social outcomes.
– Dr. Bayo Akomolafe, Covenant University, Nigeria & keynote speaker at Global Summit

DEEEP’s portrait of process and outcomes of the summit.

The second part of the “Explorer’s Journey” comprised of an experience-based two-day program to tackle important questions around value-based leadership and to apply change-thinking systemically. The turbulent history of South Africa and the many artifacts speaking of exemplary leadership provided an experience-frame that allowed the participants to go beyond the surface and to tackle root causes.

Following the conference, Melanie and Lars had the opportunity to visit like-minded organizations, partners, and friends of the Melton Foundation – like the African Leadership Academy and the Bertha Center for Social Innovation in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Find out about the conference in more details here, and take a look at the picture-diary of Mel and Lars on Facebook.