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Meet the speakers: David Woollcombe

by C:F Team on 27th April, 2010 at 9:47 AM CEST

Continuing the series of detailed looks at the Challenge:Future Summit programme, we'd like to introduce David Woollcombe, founder and president of Peace Child International. Mr. Woollcombe will be one of the panelists discussing The New Leader of the 21st Century, a topic we already started a few weeks ago with a Weekly Hot Topic discussion.

David Woollcombe at the C:F Summit 

Panel discussion: The New Leader of the 21st Century

What skills should a leader have to address the challenges of 2020? To lead in any field, a young person needs to have skills in IT, in languages, in people management, in finance, in history, geography, business and entrepreneurialism and, crucially, the imperatives of sustainable development. They require IT skills as, increasingly, society is using the web for its self-management: it also provides near infinite opportunities for business development – which those living on the wrong side of the digital divide will not be able to embrace. A knowledge of history, geography and languages are essential to enable a leader to understand the rich variety of life, culture and experience that exist on our planet: leaders who lack that knowledge are likely to be narrow, self-interested and limited in their imagination. But a knowledge of what it will require to create and grow a green economy is the greatest skill that every new leader will require. They will require commitment to learning the details about issues like climate change, peak oil, food and water security, human rights and trade justice.

How will they acquire such skills and enhance them? The obvious answer is schools and colleges – but, as currently run with the curricula set by government and largely unchanged in several generations, they will not. IT skills are better learned at home; typing and keyboard skills are better learned at specialist secretarial colleges; languages are better learned through out-of-school international exchanges and gap years; business skills are better learned from the mentored experience of starting and running a small business – from the home, the local library, or the classroom. Experiential learning is a far better way to learn skills than cognitive classroom teaching. This is not to say there is no place for schools and colleges – it is only to say that they need to change in a radical way to produce the leaders with the skills necessary to deliver a just, fair, secure and sustainable society in the years beyond 2020.

About David Woollcombe

David Woollcombe founded the international charity, Peace Child, in July 1981. With a mission to ‘empower young people’, the charity’s first challenge was bridging the gulf between East and West and help end the Cold War. It was David’s tenacity and 32 visits to Moscow that brought about the first Soviet-American youth exchange in 1986 and gave rise to a series of exchanges which brought over thousands Soviet Youth to the USA and US youth to the USSR in the years leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. After this, David coordinated the project to create a youth edition of the UN’s Agenda 21 in 1994. Called “Rescue Mission : Planet Earth” this volume, written and illustrated by young people, sold over half a million copies and was translated into 23 languages.

In 1999, David coined the term “Youth-Led Development" (YLD)  to draw attention to the enormous amount of work being done in the development field by young people under age 25. Always, David stretches the envelope never for a second imagining that anything is impossible for young people. He is on a one-man mission to empower young people – and thousands have joined his campaign which is now unstoppable. From getting young Americans to learn an entire musical in Russian in 4 days, to getting them to manage a thousand delegates at an International Congress, David inspires young people to rise beyond their comfort zone. Peace Child International has done much already: watch this space: it will do much more in the future.

Join the C:F Summit Facebook event

If you'll be attending the C:F Summit in Bled and listening to David Woollcombe, Joel Barker, Marta Kos Marko, Helmut F. Karner and other great guest speakers live, we'd also like to invite you to mark your attendance at the official C:F Summit Facebook event. You can use the even wall to discuss the agenda and your arrival at the Summit with other attendees.

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Johanny Arilexis Perez Sierra

Johanny Arilexis Perez Sierra | Action team

Great!!! I do like the perspective Mr. Woollcombe presents as imperative skills that a 21st century leader must keep. I had the honor of attending to the 4th WYC and I could see the high interest of the organization he leads to promote youth empowerment to make positive changes in their communities.

I am looking forward attending to the summit and meeting so inspiring people!!!

30th April, 2010 @ 4:25 AM CEST

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