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1 August 2021: 7 Week University Course on Integral Development and Transformative Leadership

Alexander Schieffer & Rama Mani, Home for Humanity’s co-founders offered this highly interactive and transformational course at US-based Meridian University as an invitation to develop the capacities needed for transformative leadership at this crucial time of planetary transition, relative to one’s consciousness, creativity, and courage. The course brought the theory and praxis of Integral Development to life, addressing the interconnected realms of human life: humanity, nature, culture, education, systems, and unity.

Here is a reflection on the course by course assistant and social justice scholar Ghazal Andalib from Iran: “During Meridian University’s integral development and transformative leadership course that was held online with the active engagements of more than 40 students, scholars, and transformative leaders from around the world, Dr. Rama Mani and Professor Alexander Schieffer created a unique opportunity for leaders to further enrich their knowledge in a topic which is pivotal for everyone who wishes to work for the sake of humanity. They also provided a co-learning space for all participants to share their developmental stories, and the personal potentials that they have for transforming and reshaping our earth’s shared future. They did so by guiding participants to address six components of an integral and transformative journey and reflect on and engage with their interconnectedness; humanity, nature, culture, education, systems, and unity were the six components that were discussed during seven separate sessions.

Participants joined this course from different parts of the globe with various leadership and professional experiences: however, they had all one thing in common: being extraordinary passionate to start or continue their transformative journey. They enhanced their knowledge with diverse and interdisciplinary course materials that were provided by Rama Mani and Alexander Schieffer before each session and participants contributed significantly during presentations. They were also requested to complete the course’s assignments for each session. These assignments were designed in a way that everyone could identify essential elements for individual and collective renewal and to apply their exclusive understandings of the course materials into their own practice. Feedbacks and comments were provided by Rama Mani and Alexander Schieffer each week which assisted the participants to further elaborate their next assignments.

An integral and exciting part of this course was the peer groups’ meetings conducted each week before the main session on Mondays. The purpose was that each time different people would meet each other, so that by the end of the course everyone got the chance of exchanging with all other participants. People were divided into different groups to talk about their transformative journeys and to find meaningful links between their own life and work experiences in relation to the readings, viewings and exercises shared in relation to integral development and transformative leadership. These sessions were of significant importance and support for all participants. We received very positive comments about how these discussions helped people to learn from their colleagues’ diverse range of attitudes and understandings regarding specific themes of each class.

At the end of the course students applied the art and science of integral transformation to their leadership quest and integral development practice by writing their own unique personal manifestos. After writing their final paper, the development journey of this proactive group entered a new phase which would be the application of different dimensions of integral development and transformative leadership to their personal and organizational journeys.

As a human rights and transitional justice scholar and practitioner whose main focus is the empowerment of women, I got the chance of assisting Home for Humanity’s course instructors and leaders for the first time. Previously, I studied and worked a lot on the notion of transformative justice with guidance and support of Rama Mani. Thanks to this comprehensive course I learned how to take a different and broader perspective which was not only about transformative justice in post disastrous situations for the sake of the promotion of socio-economic rights and the empowerment of the most vulnerable groups, but also to apply these notions to our daily lives. In a world entrenched with inequality, injustices, and humanitarian crisis, we, human beings, are responsible to transform our attitudes toward the purpose of our existence. Now I understand from the bottom of my soul that societal renewal is impossible without taking into account the transformative power of art, culture, and nature in our day-to-day lives. I firmly believe that the multidimensional integral approach is what we need to be more focused on when it comes to the creation of just peace and every small renewal can help our planet. This course ended with lots of positive hopes, and it paved my way to further pursue my leadership journey. I cannot wait to further engage with pioneering change makers and leaders to contribute to our shared regenerative future.”

Ghazal Andalib, Teheran / Iran

Course and Research Assistant

Home for Humanity

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