Transcript of the Video message by Angel Gurría
15 July 2020
(As prepared for delivery)
Professor Cappelli, Dear participants,
I am delighted to address the 10th edition of the Emerging Leaders Programme (ELP), co-hosted by Wharton School and the OECD. Prior to this year, we have always had the great privilege of welcoming ELP participants at our headquarters in Paris. This year, given the exceptional circumstances, the ELP has taken a virtual format.
However, I am happy to say that the interest in this unique programme continues to increase: in 2019, 36 people participated in the ELP. This year, we have close to 50 individuals representing 7 International Organisations (the Council of Europe Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Central Bank, the European Stability Mechanism, the World Trade Organization, the OPEC Fund for International Development and the OECD).
Since the launch of the programme in 2012, a total of 340 individuals have participated in the ELP, representing more than 80 different nationalities and 22 international organisations. Around 60% of ELP participants have increased the scope of their leadership responsibilities following the ELP.
This year’s ELP comes at a particularly important moment. The COVID-19 crisis has caused global turmoil. The health, economic and social implications of the pandemic are unprecedented with no clear end in sight. With the global economy expected to experience the deepest recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s, the enormous challenges we face call for greater international co-operation and, most importantly, for renewed leadership.
Today, more than ever, we need a stronger multilateralism and effective international organisations, which, through their respective missions and mandates, can support the global recovery and a more resilient and inclusive growth model. At the OECD, we have harnessed all our resources to provide timely support to our members and partners since the outbreak.
We launched a Digital Hub on Tackling the Coronavirus, providing a single entry point to the OECD’s analysis on the economic and social impacts of COVID-19. To date, we have published over 116 policy briefs in virtually all areas of our work. We have also provided policy advice to global fora such as the G20; we have kept open lines of communication with other multilateral organisations to ensure a co-ordinated and coherent response; and we have organised two virtual Ministerial Council Roundtables. We have also organised targeted COVID-19 policy dialogues with the leaders and government authorities from a number of countries, including Colombia, Costa Rica, Slovenia, Peru, Brazil, to only name a few.
This has been an intellectual and research challenge, but first and foremost a managerial one – having teams across the Organisation sharing multiple inputs in limited time and resources all whilst staff work remotely under strict confinement. I am certain this was also the case for the other Organisations represented here today. We are facing a new reality, and we need to adapt. We cannot go back to business as usual, or to pre-COVID mind-sets.
To be agile and reactive through these new and challenging times, we need our managers and leaders to be equipped with new skills to confront an unprecedented situation - I would say a new era for governments, International Organisations, corporations. The ELP and its various workshops on executive leadership should help to equip you with these new necessary skills that will inspire people to follow your leadership.
We hope that this week will improve your leadership abilities; harness your strengths and help identify areas for improvement. We also hope that it will help you see the value of diversity of views and backgrounds, develop an innovative mind-set, see negotiation as more than a zero-sum game; further build upon your emotional intelligence, and; consolidate your skills in order to lead and inspire multicultural and multidisciplinary teams.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Wharton School for their continued and invaluable partnership in this Programme and their efforts to renew their theories and vision to adapt to a different world. The cutting-edge and targeted sessions that Wharton’s renowned team of professors are sharing with you will enhance, not only your own professional development, but also the advancement of your respective Organisations and the people you work with.
Crossing new frontiers, sailing through the storm, recovering from the crisis and building better systems, require bold vision and strong leadership. The COVID-19 crisis has installed fear in our cultures, deep in our social conscience. We need new leaders to eradicate that fear. We need you.
Martin Luther King once said that “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
As leaders, we are being put to the test, now more than ever, and we must rise to the occasion. I am confident that this week will help prepare you for this important role. Thank you.