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Executive leadership training for senior professionals from across the region

Posted: 5 June 2020

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,

A Regional Short Course in Executive Leadership saw 28 senior leaders from the government and civil sectors of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka developing their skills for their nations’ benefit.

The week-long training, delivered by the Australian National University, took place in Canberra last year and included a two-day retreat in Mollymook, New South Wales. The Short Course introduced a multidisciplinary suite of tools and concepts to enhance participants’ existing leadership competencies.

As part of the course, e-mentoring took place with participants after they had returned to their home countries. Participant Mr Navaraj Dhakal from Nepal said that these e-mentoring sessions were one of the best experiences of his public service career to date.

Mr Dhakal added that he was applying lessons learnt in Canberra to build goodwill with other countries in the region, hoping it will aid him in resolving any trade-related issues in future.

Mr Andrew Collins (former Assistant Secretary, South Asia Branch, DFAT), second from left, together with Bangladeshi participants of the Australia Awards Regional Short Course in Executive Leadership, Ms Fatima Yasmin (left), Mr Mohammad Tofazzel Hossain Miah (second from right) and Ms Mohsina Yasmin (right)

Dr Alia Malik, a participant from Pakistan, felt that, as a worker in a small non-government organisation, she would not usually have access to the innovative concepts and toolkits used on the Short Course. On her return home, Dr Malik was looking forward to brainstorming ideas with her colleagues in Pakistan, drawing on her newly developed skillsets.

At the end of the course, participants envisioned that there would be many opportunities to apply their new knowledge with their colleagues and their community.

“I will apply foresighting and road mapping to develop a robust start-up ecosystem in universities in Gujarat,” said Anju Sharma, from India. Participants from Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed that they would be applying the principles of foresighting and strategic road mapping.

Mohiuddin Ahmad from Bangladesh said that he intended to use the newly learnt tools to experiment with “inclusive social protection” in the form of a pilot School Meals program, which he is hoping to help scale-up to all of Bangladesh.

“I enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot,” commented Mr Suman Dahal, also from Nepal, “and I am now part of an excellent alumni network.”

Summarising his learning from the Short Course, Mr Dahal observed, “A visionary leader always worries about the future…[but] the adaptive leader assesses what kind of distant future we can have and what efforts we should make from today to materialise it.”

Mr Dahal shared his learnings within his workplace, the Ministry of Finance. He also wrote an article, published in a renowned Nepali journal, regarding his learnings from the Short Course.