The Global Leadership Challenge
The Global Leadership Challenge is a joint initiative of the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, the Oxford Character Project at the University of Oxford, and the St. Gallen Symposium. Together, we aim to connect tomorrow’s leaders across boundaries and enable them to become responsible leaders in these challenging times.
The first Global Leadership Challenge took place from 1–4 December 2020. We convened 90 potential young leaders to collaborate through virtual sessions in Hong Kong, Oxford, and St. Gallen. By integrating responsible leadership and design thinking, GLC members developed proposals to address five global challenges: environmental sustainability, gender equality, global mobility and migration, inclusive education, and resilient economies and businesses. Throughout the GLC, they engaged with senior leaders in intergenerational dialogues that had guide them well beyond the challenge.
Humanity’s impact on the environment threatens its own sustained existence. Climate change, desertification and biodiversity loss are resulting in displaced lives and disrupted livelihoods. COVID-19 might have brought temporary reductions in air pollution and carbon emissions by slowing down economic activities. However, as economies start to re-open, we need more permanent solutions that reduce our ecological footprints and lead to a sustainable future. How might we help consumers and communities to adopt environment-friendly, sustainable practices that preserve the ecological balance?
COVID-19 will push 96 million people into extreme poverty by 2021, 47 million of whom are women and girls. This will increase the total number of women and girls living in extreme poverty to 435 million, with projections showing that this number will not revert to pre-pandemic levels until 2030. While men reportedly have a higher fatality rate, women and girls are especially hurt by the resulting economic and social fallout. How might we reduce the unequal burden of the economic and social impact of COVID-19 on women and girls?
Global Mobility and Migration
With globalisation, cross-border migration and mobility has greatly increased - but access to the rights and resources to be on the move remains highly unequal. While human mobility has been the main driver of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe, the pandemic then quickly brought global mobility and migration to an almost complete halt. How might we reshape our national and global systems for migration and mobility in light of the vulnerabilities exposed by the current and previous crises?
Education empowers people to choose their own path in life, to be active citizens and to embrace the opportunities of the digital revolution. In the wake of COVID-19, schools and universities across the globe had to close - disrupting the education of more than 91 per cent of students worldwide. At the same time, the pandemic accelerated the digitisation of learning institutions worldwide, creating opportunities as well as new forms of inequalities. How might we help educators, parents, and students adapt themselves to the new realities while rebuilding our education systems better?
Resilient Economies and Businesses
Sustained and inclusive economic growth can drive progress, create jobs and improve living standards. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many economies into a deep recession, with dire consequences for employees and entrepreneurs all over the world. It has equally put the future of economic globalisation, and the reliability of global, just-in-time supply chains in question. How might we help businesses to become more resilient and build an alternative model of sustainable growth for the post-pandemic era?