Cultivating Hope in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous World

A webinar with Éliane Ubalijoro
Professor of Practice for Public and Private Sector Partnership,
McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development

Originally broadcast on Wednesday, February 27, 2019
3 pm – 4 pm ET / 12 pm – 1 pm PT


As academic leaders seek to prepare students to face the global challenges of the 21st century, how can hope be cultivated to face a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world?

According to Bob Johansen in The New Leadership Literacies: Thriving in a Future of Extreme Disruption and Distributed Everything (2017), everything in the VUCA world will be risky, but clarity will offer lower risk, whereas certainty will create higher risk. What is the difference between clarity and certainty? Clarity is usually expressed in stories, while certainty is usually expressed in rules. Rigid rules can get leaders in a lot of trouble in the VUCA world, while stories encourage people to engage. Clarity is lucid and coherent. Certainty is definite and brittle.

Grounded in her own contemplative journey as a Rwandan woman, scientist, refugee, Canadian citizen, and leadership practitioner, Dr. Ubalijoro will share what she has learned navigating a VUCA world through the contemplative practice of experiencing differences as gifts to share and enrich each other rather than sources of division, domination, or exclusion.
Diversity is critical in a VUCA world because large, diverse groups produce amazingly better solutions than homogeneous groups but the need to hold creative tensions is greater. Our capacity to hold creative tensions is reinforced by regular contemplative practices. This makes contemplative practice a critical ritual to cultivate, not only to build inner equanimity. but also to face the daily turbulence that will only continue to be amplified.

Join this webinar to explore how connecting to the field of infinite possibilities can help us tap into collective wisdom and to navigate the challenges we face today and others we have yet to anticipate but could blindside us, especially in higher education.

  • How do we grow our capacity to listen to what is happening on the inside and outside, and reflect without attachment to address complex challenges?
  • How are we engaging within and with the world, to expand our inner and outer knowing and acceptance of what is, instead of resisting or feeling paralyzed to know what to do, where to go, or  what move to make?

About the Presenter

Eliane UbalijoroÉliane Ubalijoro, PhD, is the founder and executive director of C.L.E.A.R. International Development Inc., a consulting group harnessing global networks for sustainable systems development. She is a professor of practice for public and private sector partnerships at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development, where her research interests focus on innovation and sustainable development for prosperity creation.

Eliane teaches and advises in Leadership programs to help equip executives in international development with tools that support inner and outer sustainable transformation towards global prosperity. She was a facilitator in the International Health Leadership Development Programme (IHLDP) commissioned by the Kenya Red Cross and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance offered by Lancaster University’s Management School. She is a member of Rwanda’s National Science and Technology Council. She has lead and been a co-investigator on grants funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations program. Prior to going back to Academia, she was a scientific research and development director in a Montreal based biotechnology company for five years. She is a member of the Presidential Advisory Council for Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a member of the board of the International Leadership Association, a board of trustees for WWF International and a founding signatory of the Fuji declaration ‎to ignite the divine spark for a thriving world.

She took part in several panels at the 2018 Next Einstein Forum Global gathering and the Gender Summit 14 Climate Change through the Gender Lens: Focus on Africa. Eliane has contributed to several recent books on transformational leadership, including The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the 21st Century (Berrett- Koehler Publishers, 2012), Becoming A Better Leader (Routledge eBook, 2015), Leadership for a Healthy World: Creative Social Change (Emerald, 2016) as well as the award winning Leadership and Power in International Development (Emerald, 2018).

1 Comment

  1. Jocelyne Mayfield on July 31, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Wonderful: Partnering for Good

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