GCL 2020: 14 Years of GCL and Adaptive Leadership
by Cristina Ruiz (G'21)
Georgetown University's Latin America Leadership Program (LALP) opened the 14th edition of its Global Competitiveness Leadership Program (GCL) on January 27, 2020, at Georgetown University. This annual program is organized by LALP in collaboration with the Office of Executive Education of the McDonough School of Business.
The 2020 cohort was composed of 19 men and 19 women spanning 19 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
GCL 2020 participated in a 10-week experiential learning program, which consists of academic courses and case studies on Latin America, leadership, ethics, entrepreneurship, communication, organizational management, globalization and competitiveness, innovation, technology, and big data. Sessions included classes with Georgetown faculty and visiting faculty from other institutions, and discussions with high-profile guest speakers. Throughout the ten weeks of the program, participants took part in peer-to-peer learning and team-building sessions, which were both fun and educational to promote a greater understanding of the individual and others to create lasting bonds among the group. In addition, GCL 2020 participants had the opportunity to visit important multilateral institutions, government agencies, and other local institutions to discuss important issues with leading experts in Washington, DC.
An important component of the GCL program is the applied project. GCL 2020 participants had to develop and advance a high-impact project to be implemented in their country of origin upon their return. These projects had to be executable and viable projects that may produce a multiplier effect that benefits the country’s development. GCL 2020 projects included social democracy, media, vulnerable communities, AI for effective public policies, legal services, access to health services, women empowerment, disability inclusion, gender and human rights, services to seniors, education, food programs, social innovation, university programs, human resources, sports programs, employment programs, rural development, arts & culture, financial sustainability, organic food production, agroforestry, financial literacy, technology education.
With the global crisis of COVID-19 and international containment measures, the GCL 2020 program had to be redesigned for the last few weeks of the program to give all participants the opportunity to continue the program remotely from their own countries. Thus, GCL 2020 resumed classes virtually on Thursday, March 12 and held the closing of the program on Monday, March 30, with the final presentations of the projects held via zoom. Despite the new challenges, these 38 new leaders remain confident that they will be able to apply the skills they learned in the program to propose solutions through their projects.
A GCL 2020 end that was very different from all others, even atypical, where everyone had to adjust for the first time to a new reality, moving to virtual classes, and embracing rapid changes. Our participants were called to immediately apply what they had covered so much over the course of these GCL weeks: adaptive leadership. Despite the distance, they continued to be connected virtually, spiritually and mentally, trying to overcome the challenges that were presented to them. The response of each one of the members of this cohort was phenomenal because, despite the abrupt change in circumstances, our GCL 2020s demonstrated their willingness to successfully complete their experience. We are sure that during the coming weeks and months, our future leaders will be ready to propose solutions, and will know how to adapt and stay connected, bringing out the best in themselves as they face challenges that may lie ahead.
Our GCL 2020 showed their commitment to the program, especially during these three weeks as they finalized their projects. Some of these projects included solutions to provide financial education to vulnerable communities in Chile, pro-bono legal support for people who cannot afford a lawyer in Uruguay, the creation of a virtual platform to bring educators and academics together to discuss public policies in Mexico, the promotion of female entrepreneurship in Colombia, programs for our elderly communities in Bolivia, and a network of women leaders to promote sustainable development in Salta, Argentina, to name a few. In short, a number of initiatives that will undoubtedly help to create a better region for everyone. You can read more about each one of the GCL 2020 projects in the pdf below.