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Posts Tagged:

Leadership

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    [post_date] => 2017-08-15 15:11:06
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    [post_content] => Where There Be Dragons resolutely rejects hate, bigotry, and white supremacy, and firmly stands with victims at Charlottesville. As a community of passionate global educators and students, we are committed to teaching and working toward a more just world.
    [post_title] => In Solidarity
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    [post_date] => 2017-07-12 15:33:39
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    [post_content] => Twenty-five years ago Chris Yager founded Where There Be Dragons, pioneering an industry now commonly known as Cross-Cultural Experiential Education. He identified a deep need for this kind of education, and has since helped cultivate an understanding that we all need it. In 2005 I happened upon Dragons, and discovered that I needed it, too. 

I was called to Dragons in 2005 to work as a field instructor in Tibet. In my late 20’s, it was the perfect job. I had spent years in the field as a wilderness guide, and had recently transitioned back to academia to pursue a graduate degree in Religious Studies. Dragons came along and offered an opportunity to blend my passion for experiential education with meaningful cross-cultural engagement and inquiry. I could continue to ask big questions, not in the halls of academia but with other people in alleyways and mountains. Dragons connected me to the stories of the world, and often the untold stories.

For 10 years I worked for Dragons, as a guide and as an administrator. I balanced my Dragons work with my desire to be a teacher. I taught part time at the college level, and then I left Dragons in 2012 to teach full time as a high school World History teacher. Then I became a father, and I knew that I needed to dedicate my life to Dragons and its founding mission. 

My wife and I adopted our son at birth. Like most parents, we transitioned into a new life together. Parenting forced us to sift through what we value in life, and discard any excess. My son is African-American, and it’s no secret that being black in America requires a different kind of skill set to thrive. As a white father living in Boulder, Colorado, it demanded answers to a difficult question: how am I going to educate my son? How am I going to provide an education that will allow him to go off into the world, to discover who he is and that he matters? How can I equip him with the skills to not only survive, but thrive. 

Dragons, in part, was my answer. Dragons is a global community bent on discovering something deep, and mysterious, and beautiful. It’s about the thousands of students, instructors and community members who come together to learn what it means to be fully human, to be fully oneself, and to see the majesty in all of life’s expressions. Dragons is part of a historical movement that seeks to resist the marginalization of difference, and offer celebration in its place. This is what I want my son to learn: to recognise all the potential we have and to gain the skills to craft a life surrounded by beauty and meaning. That’s not an easy task, considering all the facts. But it’s possible, and it’s one that Dragons is committed to realizing.

The dream of Dragons is as important today as it was 25 years ago, and my commitment to Dragons is to maintain that uncompromising belief in the inherent potential and beauty of humanity. I’m honored to be a part of this community, to now serve as the Executive Director, and to help Dragons realize its best self.

- Reed Harwood

 
    [post_title] => An Introduction to Dragons Executive Director: Reed Harwood
    [post_excerpt] => "Dragons came along and offered an opportunity to blend my passion for experiential education with meaningful cross-cultural engagement and inquiry. I could continue to ask big questions, not in the halls of academia but with other people in alleyways and mountains. Dragons connected me to the stories of the world, and often the untold stories..."
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    [post_date] => 2017-05-31 15:51:57
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    [post_content] => 

Dear Dragons Community,

On this memorial day weekend, the Dragons community mourns the death of a different kind of national hero. 23 year old Taliesin Myrddin, an alumnus of the Indonesia Fall Semester-2011, was fatally stabbed while attempting to stop anti-Muslim hate speech against two women on a train in Portland, OR. His sister, Vajra Alaya-Maitreya, emailed a statement to The Washington Post on behalf of their family:

“We lost him in a senseless act that brought close to home the insidious rift of prejudice and intolerance that is too familiar, too common. He was resolute in his conduct (and) respect of all people,” she wrote. “In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed is the way forward. He will live in our hearts forever as the just, brave, loving, hilarious and beautiful soul he was. We ask that in honor of his memory, we use this tragedy as an opportunity for reflection and change. We choose love.”

Taliesin represents the best of what Dragons stands for in this world. May his life, and his final act, give us all strength to continue the work of creating a more empathetic, understanding, and humane world. Taliesin, and the others who intervened, are an inspiration for our entire community to stand up against the voices of violence and intolerance which seek to undermine our shared humanity. Dragons is committed to its programming throughout the Muslim world in order to continue fostering meaningful cross-cultural understanding and further strengthen the bonds of our global community.

Dragons is participating in the campaigns to support the victims' families.

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    [post_date] => 2017-05-08 11:55:51
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    [post_content] => There are over 2,000 Certified B Corporations from more than 130 industries in 50 countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business. B Corps are important because they inspire all businesses to compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.

From the B-Corp website
  • Certified B Corporations meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
  • It’s like Fair Trade certification but for the whole business, not just a bag of coffee (or USDA Organic certification, but not just for a carton of milk; or LEED certification, but not just for a building).
  • The performance standards B Corps meet are comprehensive, transparent and verified. They measure a company’s impact on all its stakeholders (e.g. workers, suppliers, community, customers and the environment).
  • Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders (e.g., workers, suppliers, community, consumers, and the environment).
Here's a little video that explains it all nicely: The process provided Dragons with the affirmation that our business has a strong and positive social and environmental impact. It also gave clarity on where we can improve as a business, and how we can more closely align our values with our business practices. And as of May of 2017,  Dragons officially became a legal Benefit Corporation! [post_title] => Dragons is now a Benefit Corporation (B Corp) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dragons-is-now-a-benefit-corporation-b-corp [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-07 09:05:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-07 16:05:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 655 [name] => Continued Education [slug] => continued_education [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 655 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Continued Education, Webinars, Curriculum, Transference. [parent] => 0 [count] => 10 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 655 [category_count] => 10 [category_description] => Continued Education, Webinars, Curriculum, Transference. [cat_name] => Continued Education [category_nicename] => continued_education [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/continued_education/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 700 [name] => For Parents [slug] => for_parents [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 700 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [parent] => 0 [count] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 39 [category_description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [cat_name] => For Parents [category_nicename] => for_parents [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/for_parents/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => About Dragons [slug] => about_dragons [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [parent] => 0 [count] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 39 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [parent] => 0 [count] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 53 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Continued Education, For Parents ... )
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    [post_date] => 2017-04-27 12:35:48
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    [post_content] => 
I was once trained in a leadership exercise that has time-and–again revealed the same leadership maxims. It begins with a narrative of an Everest ascent, and asks participants to identify the needs that would go into a successful expedition. The workshop reveals the best results when participants don’t know that it’s a “leadership exercise,” and if they instead approach it as a genuine meditation on a successful mountaineering ascent—even when participants have no background in climbing. Here’s how it goes: The person leading the exercise presents the challenge of getting a group of people from Kathmandu to the summit of Everest, and asks them to brainstorm all that will need to go into a triumphant endeavor. The conversation follows a predictable flow, with participants first identifying material needs for the expedition: yaks for transport, tents, crampons, communication gear and medical supplies. Inevitably the conversation trends towards the personnel who’ll be necessary: porters and cooks, a medical officer, technical climbers, a leader. As the exercise evolves, the conversation organically moves to the personality characteristics of a team that would be most successful. Eventually, participants focus their discussion on qualities of ideal leadership. In the numerous times that I’ve seen this exercise play out, the same narrative emerges when going deep about the qualities of the team leader. Even when disparate people from disparate cultures participate, they arrive at the same basic conclusions. And that is this: a successful enterprise—from a goal hashed out in a boardroom to a successful ascent of Everest—requires of its leader authentic character, vision, an ability to articulate a vision, knowledge of terrain, and an emotional center that genuinely values each member of the group.

In any brainstorming, the best ideas often emerge after the obvious ones are exhausted. In the case of the Kathmandu-to-Everest expedition, when the conversation door is left open long enough, participants begin to talk about the distinguishing hallmarks of not just good leadership, but great leadership. When teams go down this path they consistently identify great leadership as something not simply quantified by metrics of goal realization, but rather by metrics of the longer-term growth and development of a project’s participants. A good leader gets the group up a mountain, but a great leader inspires the group to fall in love with the adventure. A great leader returns the group down the mountain with larger heart and vision and with the capacity to lead others themselves. In the world of experiential education, we say that great leadership occurs when a leader “leads from behind,” wherein a group arrives at the goal and says of themselves, “we did this on our own.” When individuals own their success and feel that they

In the world of experiential education, we say that great leadership occurs when a leader “leads from behind,” wherein a group arrives at the goal and says of themselves, “we did this on our own.” When individuals own their success and feel that they have lead themselves they become conscientious and caring stewards of others. They become capable and mindful leaders themselves. Conversely, demagoguery-as-leadership, or leadership that comes from cult of personality, results in tepid participation and leaves followers dispossessed of much personal gain.

Great leaders are visionaries who see and articulate a potential reality that is better for everyone. They have learned through personal trial and personal engagement the best ways to navigate the difficult terrain ahead. And they have a way of bringing out the best in those that work with them. Great leadership comes not from a place of celebrating the “I”, but instead comes from a place of building the “we”. It comes not from instigating a collective flight from anything fearful, but rather from an ability to inspire a bold dash towards something affirmative.

There’s much more to great leadership: courage, patience, experience and wisdom, among other attributes. But without character, vision, knowledge of terrain and a degree of humility, guides aren’t going to get a group up and down the mountain safely. And they’re not going to benefit from the innate capability of the group to lead themselves, wherein the greatest potential for achievement lies. Save Save [post_title] => The Spring 2017 Edition of The Map's Edge... [post_excerpt] => Great leaders are visionaries who see and articulate a potential reality that is better for everyone. They have learned through personal trial and personal engagement the best ways to navigate the difficult terrain ahead. And they have a way of bringing out the best in those that work with them. Great leadership comes not from a place of celebrating the “I”, but instead comes from a place of building the “we”. It comes not from instigating a collective flight from anything fearful, but rather from an ability to inspire a bold dash towards something affirmative. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-spring17-edition-of-the-maps-edge [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-21 20:50:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-22 02:50:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 675 [name] => The Dragons Journal [slug] => thedragonsjournal [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 675 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Archives of The Dragons Journal (formerly known as the Map's Edge Newsletter). [parent] => 0 [count] => 20 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7 [cat_ID] => 675 [category_count] => 20 [category_description] => Archives of The Dragons Journal (formerly known as the Map's Edge Newsletter). [cat_name] => The Dragons Journal [category_nicename] => thedragonsjournal [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/thedragonsjournal/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => About Dragons [slug] => about_dragons [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [parent] => 0 [count] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 39 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/about_dragons/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 670 [name] => Recommended [slug] => recommended [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 670 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Recommended reading, watching and listening. [parent] => 0 [count] => 12 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 11 [cat_ID] => 670 [category_count] => 12 [category_description] => Recommended reading, watching and listening. [cat_name] => Recommended [category_nicename] => recommended [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => The Dragons Journal, About Dragons ... )
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    [post_date] => 2017-04-18 12:30:02
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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_150918" align="alignright" width="418"] Haitian community leaders and Ellie conduct a survey on access to water in communities affected by mining in Haiti.[/caption]

Ellie Happel is a social justice lawyer who has been working in Haiti for more than a decade. Since graduating law school, she has worked closely with various Haitian civil society groups and NYU Law School's Global Justice Clinic on cases of forced eviction in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) Camps in Port-Au-Prince. She has a complaint filed against the United Nations over the introduction of cholera into Haiti, and most recently on issues involving hard metal mining. These are some of her observations.

CREATE SPACE
Leaders for social change create space for movements to thrive, change, and to reinvent themselves. Often, leaders rise not only because of who they are—their charisma or skills or vision—but because of privilege. Leaders acknowledge power and privilege, and work to create the space for those who are less privileged to speak, to contribute, to shine. Strong social movements push themselves to be more inclusive and more creative, and demand leadership that embraces plurality. Leaders invite movements to grow in size and to grow in imagination, to strive tomorrow for a dream that is unforeseen today. Strong leadership and strong movements embrace nonconformity and embrace change. They practice inclusivity.
GET PROXIMATE
Leaders get proximate. Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, said “If you are not proximate, you cannot change the world.” Getting proximate means knowing the People, the masses, the Other. True proximity breeds empathy, and is possible only in the absence of fear. Proximity disappears the Other. It creates unity; differences are celebrated and respected, and a common vision is defined. Leaders get proximate. Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, said “If you are not proximate, you cannot change the world.” Getting proximate means knowing the People, the masses, the Other. True proximity breeds empathy, and is possible only in the absence of fear. Proximity disappears the Other. It creates unity; differences are celebrated and respected, and a common vision is defined.
PRINCIPLES OVER POPULARITY: THE POWER OF DISSENT
Leaders choose principles over popularity. They not only document injustice, but they demand action to change the status quo. They are the authors of (unpopular) dissent. Justice Harlan was the lone dissent in the 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson, arguing that the Constitution is color-blind. It took 58 years before Brown v. Board, when the Court made this the law of the land. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously dissented to promote free speech. Recently, Justice Sotomayor has authored dissenting opinions to document and criticize the racial discrimination in our criminal justice system. The authors of dissenting opinions and the promoters of unpopular ideas are rarely Leaders choose principles over popularity. They not only document injustice, but they demand action to change the status quo. They are the authors of (unpopular) dissent. Justice Harlan was the lone dissent in the 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson, arguing that the Constitution is color-blind. It took 58 years before Brown v. Board, when the Court made this the law of the land. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously dissented to promote free speech. Recently, Justice Sotomayor has authored dissenting opinions to document and criticize the racial discrimination in our criminal justice system. The authors of dissenting opinions and the promoters of unpopular ideas are rarely identified as leaders. They should be. In dissenting, in voicing the unpopular, they encourage alternative visions and promote change.
DARE TO CHANGE COURSE
Leaders dare to change course. Two examples are Toussaint Louverture, leader of the Haitian revolution, and Ernest Shackleton. Toussaint Louverture allied with the Spanish, the French, and then fought for Haiti’s independence, the only slave revolt to result in a sovereign nation. According to C.L.R.E. James’ account, The Black Jacobins, from the beginning Louverture had a singular goal: to abolish slavery and create a free Haiti. Sir Ernest Shackleton led a team of 27 men in an attempt to cross the Antarctic continent. Shackleton is famous not for the transverse—they failed—but for keeping every member of his team alive. Shackleton led his team away from their ship, frozen in the ice, on a two-year journey for survival. Along the way, Shackleton “got proximate.” Shackleton did not use his position of leadership to insulate himself from the pain of the journey. The ship’s captain, Frank Worsley, said that it was Shackleton’s rule that “any deprivation should be felt by himself before anyone else.” For more, go to: bit.ly/1qpL7G8
LEADERSHIP FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
Movements make the leader as much as the leader makes the movement. Leaders for social change encourage broad, ambitious, inclusive social movements. They not only listen to the people, but they work in close enough proximity to know the people, and they give the movement the space it needs to thrive. Leading for social change is less about individual qualities of character than about the back and forth between leaders and the masses, the process of collectively dreaming and redesigning a more just world.
ELLIE HAPPEL’S first experience with Dragons was on a summer program in Dolpo, Nepal. Ellie was later admitted to NYU Law School as a Root Tilden Kern scholar in 2008 where she focused on racial justice issues. She has since worked on environmental justice and public health issues in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Peru and Washington, D.C. Ellie has led Dragons programs in Guatemala, India, and Peru. She most recently led Dragons Fall 2016 Andes and Amazon Semester
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