Friday, November 2, 2012

At the Global Assembly in Caux, Switzerland, this August, the 103 delegates from 42 different countries agreed on three Common Actions for Initiatives of Change International. One of those was A New Model for Governance in India that includes training for corporate executives and civil servants. Patrick McNamara, vice-chair of the Initiatives of Change board in the U.S., made a commitment to help with these trainings during a recent trip to lecture at various universities in India. He writes of his experience:

Sharing thoughts from morning quiet time

Last month at Asia Plateau, the Initiatives of Change center in Panchgani, India, I presented a workshop on dealing with ethical dilemmas as part of the “Heart of Effective Leadership” program for managers of Siemens and Kirloskar corporations. Running parallel to this program was one designed for senior civil servants of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, which has contracted with Initiatives of Change to provide training to their managers.

These training programs address governance issues at individual, community and institutional levels. By working with decision-makers in public administration, private sector, management, village-level administration, as well as students, these trainings address issues of poverty, corruption, division and development with a focus on the nature and effectiveness of accountability.

In recent months major articles in the Economic Times of Mumbai, and the Indian Express have reported on the role Asia Plateau is playing in the battle against corruption. The article in the Economic Times describes the “Batches of Siemens managers (that) are spending time at the Panchgani campus.”

“Ethics must be a cultural value within the organization,' says Armin Bruck, the CEO of Siemens India, “Corporates must not leave it to government regulations to force them to comply.”

Patrick sharing kitchen duty with corporate executives

The Asia Plateau conference center, in the picturesque hill station of Panchgani near Pune, is a spectacular setting that shares the same spirit of Caux. It inspires opportunities for reflection and peace that are not always present in our everyday life. During a quiet time at the start of each day, the participants took walks in nature and came back to share their thoughts.

With nearly 10,000 people being trained each year in ethical leadership in Asia Plateau and elsewhere, Initiatives of Change in India has made a strong request for international help to undergird and expand its work for good governance in the corporate and government sectors.

As one of the Common Actions of Initiatives of Change, we should all consider how we can respond to this request. Ask yourself what you have to give to this program in India: Maybe you are a teacher or trainer who wants more international experience? Maybe you have particular skills in finances, engineering or some other area that is needed at Asia Plateau? Or maybe you are available to just walk alongside participants, accompanying them on a journey towards a change in their lives that will bring about a more ethical India and a better world? Please email the Initiatives of Change office if you are interested in taking part.

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