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Kiwis Scrutinised By Future Commonwealth Leaders

Kiwis Under Scrutiny By Future Commonwealth Leaders

In October, selected high-flyers from around 30 Commonwealth countries will gather in New Zealand and Australia for The Ninth Commonwealth Study Conference, a training course that helps shape future leaders. Originated by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, The Commonwealth Study Conference was first held in 1954 and is held every six years.

It brings together 200 potential leaders from many parts of the globe for an intensive two-week course focused on leadership. Participants come from business, union and government/community organisations - but they take part in the course as individuals, not as representatives of organisations.

Former participants from New Zealand have included Fletcher Building CEO Ralph Waters, ASB senior executive Barbara Chapman, Janet Scott of the Employment Relations Authority, former PSA President Sue Piper, Waitangi Fisheries CEO Robin Hapi and former State Service Commissioner David Swallow.

. The conference involves intensive group discussion, study tours of businesses, organisations and communities, and group reports requiring consensus on issues observed during the tours. For strong-minded individuals already on a leadership track, learning how to achieve consensus is a necessary challenge !

. The underlying theme of all Commonwealth Study Conferences is always the impact of industry and commerce on people and their environment, but each conference interprets it to reflect prevailing concerns of the time.

This year's focus will be on how individuals and communities function in the new global paradigm. Participants will be required to examine how people respond to the challenges posed by globalisation. The trend towards globalisation began with the removal of trade and communication barriers; removing those barriers now exposes differences in values and views and brings on the potential for conflict between individual /community aspirations and the demands of a global community - how will future leaders create a clear vision in the light of this?

In early October participants will gather in Melbourne for the initial discussions, then split into 14 groups to visit certain areas of Australia and New Zealand (11 groups will travel to Australian locations and 3 will visit New Zealand locations). The visits are to selected businesses, institutions and communities where participants will observe the relationship of people to their work and to their social environment.

The host organisation understands at the outset that uninhibited individual and group face to face discussions with people at all levels are essential to the success of the visit.The three New Zealand groups will be visiting Wellington for an initial introductory briefing by Government ,Business and Union Leaders at Wellington City Council Chambers.From there they will travel to different geographic areas around the country.

Study Tour 12 will visit Auckland and the far North of New Zealand, Study Tour 13 travels to the central North Island,Lake Taupo,Rotorua District,Bay of Plenty Region and Waikato.Study Tour 14 will be going to the South Island covering Christchurch,Hokitika,Greymouth,Hanmer and Waipara

The groups will then reassemble in Sydney and discuss their experiences. Each group must come to a consensus view of what they have learned to present to their fellow members at the closing sessions. Reaching that consensus is where the real work of the conference takes place.Every individual will find their most basic assumptions challenged at some point by one or more of their collegues.From this process a whole range of new perspectives can emerge.

The Founder of the conferences, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, believes in the importance of broadening the understanding and decision making ability of future leaders while challenging their ideas and assumptions through enquiry and discussion.

" The objective is for members to look, listen and learn in the hope that the process will help them to improve the quality of their decision-making when they reach the peaks of their occupations," Prince Philip says.


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