I am about to embark on another stint teaching in the East West Center’s renowned, Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP). This will be my 13th straight year teaching in APLP, a programme that is itself only 14 years old. There have been additional leadership programmes added to the mix and I will also teach in these settings whilst there. Of course the thing not to be overlooked is that APLP is located in Hawaii. Moving on…
This years participants come from 26 different Asia Pacific countries including China, India, Vietnam, USA, Iran, Nepal, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Japan, Malaysia, Micronesia, South Korea, Philippians, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands, New Zealand…well let me stop there! (Note to self: remember to pack Springbok jersey! I once had to perform the Haka in public as a result of a lost bet at APLP!).
It is undoubtedly the most diverse classroom I have the privilege of teaching in. The range of worldview, culture, language, religion and background is staggering, if not daunting. The participants also come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds including education, engineering, law, government, philanthropy, business, health care, environmental, technology, media, development…and, once again, you get the picture!
Participation in APLP hasn’t always been to TomorrowToday’s direct financial gain. The fees paid by the East West Center (as an educational institute) cannot match the standard corporate fees we usually charge. However, our gains have been immeasurable! We have been able to ‘test’ our thinking and message with smart people from the backgrounds I have already mentioned. This has been invaluable in the other global work we do through business schools and directly with clients around such topics as global trends, leadership, diversity, talent and strategy. We have developed solid relationships with influential people from places we never ordinarily would have had the opportunity to ‘link’ with and learn from. We have learnt so much through this relationship with APLP and we would like to think that we too have given back; that we have served their agenda well in the process. Otherwise, why would they keep inviting us back!?
So, once again it is almost time to say ‘aloha’ and return to a place that has almost become a second home for me. Being so far removed from my normal destinations and in a place where the rhythms, sounds and tastes are so different is a gift in itself. Being in Hawaii always affords time to reflect, take stock and gain perspective on not only TomorrowToday, but on life’s journey itself.
Last year I sat on the beach in Waikiki watching the season’s premier of ‘Hawaii 5.0’ with personal appearances of all the show’s stars. My wife still hasn’t quite forgiven me for not bringing ‘Steve home’.
I am sure this year will carry with it further surprise and learning but now, all that is left to do, is pack. Where are those baggies?…