"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear". - Buddha

Happy World Teachers Day!

Happy World Teachers Day!
 
As a vocational teacher myself, I am proud to have one of the most important professions in the world.
 
Teachers hold a lot of power in terms of being catalysts for change in the world.
 
Teachers are those who teach all other professions.
 
Teachers make a difference.
 
What would the world look like without teaching professionals?
 
Only those who can learn everything by themselves need no teachers.
 
Teachers do not only teach specific subjects.
 
Teachers also teach manners, ethics, and morals and aim to integrate students into societies.
 
More often than not, teachers succeed in this. Sometimes, unfortunately not.
 
Nevertheless, teachers should not be blamed or given the whole responsibility of matters concerning parenting or the lack thereof, nor blamed for general problems in a country, region or society.
 
Teachers are not parents, although many teachers take on the responsibility when there is a lack of parenting. For many students worldwide, school or an educational institution is their only home/hope.
 
Never forget that as a teacher. Never forget that as a student. Never forget that as a citizen (of the world).
 
Remember to give thanks to all your teachers who made a difference in your life.
 
Stop blaming and putting all responsibility on your teachers, and start taking responsibility for your own behavior and for your own learning.
 
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. – Buddha
Anne-Maria Yritys, October 5th 2019

How to Enhance Global Citizenship in (Emerging) Leaders?

The shift is moving us from a culture of mind to a culture of heart where we are connected on a much more profound level with each other (Jay Weidner)

Defining, enhancing, evaluating and understanding global citizenship is no longer a matter of selectivity, but rather a question of understanding that every individual, and every leader, should have the right to familiarize, and educate themselves with. Global citizenship, as defined by the UNESCO, and by the UWS (United World Schools), is the capability of any global citizen to care passionately about and the world we live in.

Furthermore, the UWS sees a Global Citizen, and a global leader, as someone who:

  • Has awareness of the wider world
  • Has a sense of their role as a world citizen
  • Respects and values diversity
  • Wants to tackle social injustice
  • Believes that all children and young people have a right to an education
  • Takes action to make the world more equitable
  • Lives and promotes a sustainable way of life

The UWS, together with UNESCO and with multi-local associations, promotes global citizenship through a number of activities, including partnering with schools and educational institutions from affluent countries with their own community in an are of significant educational poverty. For more information, please visit Global Citizenship and United World Schools

and watch the following video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ajy4KsuRaNQ

Moreover, global citizenship, and global leadership, have become terminologies of the majority, necessary for every leader to comprehend, and to include in their vocabulary if not yet, at the latest by now, and through upcoming activities within all business, leadership, and organizational activities.

Surprisingly enough, the trends of global citizenship and global leadership are spreading faster than imagined. Our world, despite its size, has in the past couple of decades, through technological advancement and other global activities, become a global village, where global citizenship and global leadership both awakens individuals, businesses, and organizations, and also leads to increased actions through and by a number of factors such as ethically and morally correct business and leadership activities.

Philip Kotler, in Marketing 3.0., is one of the examples of progressive global leaders and citizens in his field of expertise to have taken into consideration the millennium, and now, the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN in order to create a world with justice, no poverty, gender equality, equal human rights for all citizens of the world, along with the other sustainable development goals that we ultimately all wish to see come true, the sooner the better.

As part of my vocational teacher studies, I had the pleasure to participate as an observant, and a negotiator/mediator, at a simulated workshop organized by FinMUN (Finnish Model United Nations) in Tampere on November 23rd. The simulation took place at Tampere University, with a current topic upon the Syrian Refugee Crisis, including participants from 18 different countries in the world discussing at a simulated event arranged by the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council), trying to find solutions to solve the largest humanitarian crisis of this century. Unless yet familiar with the humanitarian crisis in Syria, including significant details, please read the following article, written by Kathy Gilsinan and published by The Atlantic, to gain more insight on the topic:

The Confused Person’s Guide to the Syrian Civil War

The fact is that no individual, no business, and no organization can afford to ignore globalism as a part of their business, personal, or organization activities and life. We are all affected, and involved, either directly or indirectly.

And, it is a matter of every business, every leader, every citizen, and every organization to take into consideration and to plan their (strategic) activities, at all organizational levels, in order to influence global events in a positive manner.

As defined by the UNESCO, a global citizen (and, a global leader) is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVSgbU6WVSk

From a combined business, and educational point of view, global citizens, and global leaders, must understand and take into consideration, and include following points into both personal, and business-related agendas:

  1. Literally, understanding where “ones ́s breakfast comes from”. This citation is from the book Geographic Economy (Coe, Kelly & Yeung, 2007). Please, if not already, read this book in order to increase your understanding about the global economy and the driving forces behind it. The content of it will definitely not leave you cold – on the opposite, the book will most definitely increase your awareness and serve as an alarm clock for people not yet fully conscious about how the world economy, and international trade, actually functions at the time being. Strongly recommended for any global citizen, and global leader.
  2. Making sure to integrate, and to centralize, CSR (corporate social responsibility) as a major function in all business-related activities. CSR, when fully and correctly integrated into business, and into leadership practices, is a powerful strategic tool enabling your business to create a competitive advantage in today’s rather harsh business world.
  3. Realizing that global citizenship, and global leadership, are synonyms for the capability of your organization to survive, and to thrive. No matter the size of your organization, or its strategic plans (of expansion, and of creating new market space), understanding global markets and knowing how to best operate in these in an ethically and morally correct manner, is a definite competitive advantage as long as you actually make global citizenship and global leadership central terms included in your organization’s values.

Influencing Positive Change In The World Through Global Education

A few weeks ago the UN Association of Finland organized a school visitation education in Turku, the purpose of which is to educate volunteers willing to visit schools in order to share information about the UN, its principles, and its goals as a non-governmental organization.

In Finland, UN school visitors can be requested through the UNA of Finland:

http://www.ykliitto.fi/koulutus-ja-oppimateriaalit?language=fi

School visits are open and available to all kinds of educational institutions and tailored according to the age and interest of the pupils/students. The visit can include general facts about the UN and its activities, or be focused around a specific topic, e.g. the UN Millennium Development Goals 2000.

Founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 states to protect the world from new wars, the UN (United Nations) is the world´s most important co-operational organization. Over the course of the years the UN has of course changed and developed, trying to adjust its operations according to the most important needs and most urgent matters of its member states. In 2013, the UN had 193 member states.

The main goals of the UN are:

– To maintain international peace and security through peaceful means in solving disputes and conflicts

– To develop friendly relations between nations (autonomy and equal rights)

– Generate and accomplish co-operation to solve economical, social, cultural and humanitarian problems

– To advance human rights and their universality

– To serve as a co-operational centre for all nations

According to the principles of the UN, all member nations are plenipotentiary and equal, must fulfill the obligations of the UN Charter, resolve all international conflicts with peaceful means, and help the UN in all actions taken by the UN according to its Charter.

The main bodies of the UN are:

– The General Assembly

– The Security Council

– ECOSOC (the Economic and Social Council)

– The Secretariat

– The International Court of Justice

– The Trusteeship Council

(Sources: Leisma, 2009; printed material produced by the UN Association of Finland).

The previously mentioned UN Millennium Development Goals 2000 are:

1. Eradication of extreme hunger and poverty

2. Achievement of Universal Primary Education

3. Promotion of Gender Equality and Empowering Women

4. Reduction of Child Mortality

5. Improvement of Maternal Health

6. Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases

7. Ensuring Environmental Sustainability

8. Global Partnership for Development

(Source: UNA printed material, UN Millennium Development Goals website, quoted 16.4.2014).

Wide-ranged and large goals, but perfectly achievable with commitment from all UN member nations.

Are we close to achieving these goals, or have we already achieved some of them?

I will discuss each of these goals separately in my upcoming posts, with facts and personal thoughts.

 

What is “The Land of The Lucky Children”?

My journey a couple of years ago to Cambodia, the Land of Peace and Prosperity, was a didactic experience and an eye-opener in many ways. Not only did I learn about the history of the homeland of some of South East Asia ́s most amazing archaeological sites, including the re-known Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm + hundreds of other temples, but also about the contemporary way of life in this amazingly beautiful country, neighborhood by Thailand in the West, Laos in the North, and Vietnam in the East.

Yet, not so many decades ago, the Land of Peace and Prosperity was the centre for a bloody civil war, the Cambodian Genocide. In 1975, orchestrated by Pol Pot, the local communist party the Khmer Rouge, invaded the capital Phnom Penh, driving Cambodian citizens out of their homes. Innocent people were forced to prison camps, where they had to work like slaves with little or almost no food allowed. Every non-communist was under life-threat, especially doctors, teachers, non-communist politicians, and other intellectuals. Many were killed. According to estimations, more than 2 million innocent people lost their lives during the Khmer Rouge regime. Women were commonly raped, and many children, including girls, were forced to become child soldiers. One of these children managed to flee to the United States with her brother, and is today a national spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine Free World. Loung Ung has also shared her experiences and her story in two of her books: “First They Killed My Father – A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers”, and “Lucky Child – A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites With The Sister She Left Behind”.

What do wars/civil wars teach us?

Personally I learned at least the following facts:

– Democracy protects human rights

– Bad governance (including a high amount of corruption) can be disastrous in protecting equality and for economic development in a state

– Wars are disastrous for the well-being and general development of a country.

– The aftermath of wars, and genocides, together with a high level of corruption, will influence the economic development of a region for years, even decades.

Cambodia is still today, although developing, one of the poorest countries in the world. Cripples are a common view on the streets – legs or arms or both missing, these people are crawling on the streets trying to find a way to make a living – mainly by begging from tourists. War makes people suffer not only physically, but also mentally. Many parents, unable to work, prefer sending their children to the streets, earning money to the family e.g. through selling souvenirs or books to tourists.

Garment workers are transported on the back ́s of open vans like animals to factories, where they work for long hours with a monthly pay of no more than a maximum of 100-150 USD. Due to the amount of medical workers killed during the civil war, good doctors and hospitals are still missing. Local people who can afford it commonly travel to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam in order to get professional medical treatment.

I must admit that I feel uncomfortable buying clothes with a label stating “made in Cambodia,” especially after personally seeing the local conditions.

As a tourist in Cambodia I was considering whether my journey really was of benefit for the people, and if it actually is morally and ethically right to buy clothes produced in Cambodia. What do you think?

 

Female Leadership and Gender Equality

“I never pay attention to age or gender. There are just too many other more important things to consider.” (Martha Stewart, Founder, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia).

If everyone thought like Martha Stewart, we wouldn´t need any further discussions about the state of female leadership or about its future. But in reality, we are far from gender equality in leadership worldwide.

Currently, only a good four percent of all Fortune 500 CEO´s are female. This is, however, an increase from the two percent in 2007.

How can this be explained? According to some research/ers, women seeking leadership roles face persistent and pervasive barriers, including gender bias in leadership opportunities, gender inequalities in family responsibilities, inflexibility in workplace structures, and inadequacies in social policies. (Kellerman, B. and Rhode, D.L. 2007).

There is, however, evidence of strong female leadership in history. The eldest proof of female leadership comes from Egypt: Queen Cleopatra, who reigned 51-30 BC, was not the only Egyptian female pharaoh, but the last and probably the best known. She first ruled jointly with her father and later with her brothers, but became eventually a sole ruler.

Other strong female leaders throughout history are Joan of Arc (leader of the French Army 1412-1431), Isabella I of Castile (Queen of Spain 1451-1504), Catherine de Medici (Queen of France 1519-1589), Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587), Elizabeth I (Queen of England 1533-1603), Amina (Nigerian Queen 1560-1610), Mbande Nzinga (Angolan Queen 1582-1663), Catherine the Great (Empress of Russia 1729-1796), Victoria (Queen of England 1819-1901), Tsu-hsi (Empress of China 1835-1908), Liliuokalani (Last Monarch of Hawaii 1838-1917), Golda Meir (Prime Minister of Israel 1898-1978), Indira Gandhi (Prime Minister of India 1917-1984), and Margaret Thatcher (Prime Minister of England 1979-1990). (http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/rulers.html 20.10.2013).

Many of these women were born into monarch families and thus did not have to work their way to influential and powerful positions.

Today, the number of powerful women across the world is larger than ever. The most powerful woman, according to Forbes´ ranking, is Germany´s Chancellor Angela Merkel (http://www.forbes.com/power-women/#page:1_sort:0_direction:asc_search: 20.10.2013), followed by Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, Melinda Gates, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg and many others. It is interesting that so many of the 100 most powerful women worldwide are actors, entrepreneurs and musicians, including Beyonce Knowles, Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey and J.K. Rowling.

In the Nordic countries, the proportion of female leaders is higher than in most other parts of the world. Why?

Gender equality is at core of the Nordic identity. We share many common features simultaneously with varying gender equality policies. To enhance gender equality in the Nordic region, the Nordic countries share and learn from each other´s experiences through political discussions and test most effective strategies in order to achieve common goals.

Despite of decades of work in this sector, the labor market and educational sector in the Nordic countries remain more or less gender divided, characterized by men still holding most leading positions, and women having the main responsibility on the home front. Prostitution and (domestic) violence against women and children still remain two major unsolved problems. (http://www.norden.org/en/about-nordic-co-operation/areas-of-co-operation/gender-equality/gender-equality-in-the-nordic-countries 20.10.2013).

Finland was the third country in the world to grant women the right to vote in 1906. Finland also had a female president for twelve years (2000-2012), Tarja Halonen, who was re-elected in 2006. Today, 85 of the 200 seats (42,5 %) in Finnish parliament are occupied by women. Nine of 19 ministers are female.

In Finland, the number of women in leadership and management roles has grown in the past years in both private and public sectors. Women are also higher educated than men. In some industries, however, the proportion of women is clearly smaller, and there is a tendency of a higher ratio of women leaders in industries already dominated by women. Women leaders are on the average higher educated than their male counterparts. On a European level, Finland has one of the highest numbers of female leaders. In the number of female c-level executives, however, Finland ranks as the third last country in whole Europe.

On a European level, women account for about a third of all director and chief executive roles. In whole Europe, about 30 per cent of all public companies have one or several women at executive group level, compared to 90 per cent in the United States. In the past year, the number of women in board´s has slightly grown in the past years. The European Commission has appealed to European firms in order to speed up the change. Some European countries, e.g. Norway, use contingencies for board members. Although these contingencies have increased the number of women as board members in Norway, the number of women in middle management or at executive level remains the same. Of all board members in Europe only about 12 per cent are female. In Finland and Sweden the same number is about 26 per cent. In Finland this can perhaps be explained by a corporate governance recommendation from 2010 according to which a company board must be represented by both genders. This CG recommendation has led to an increase in the amount of firms in Finland that have both genders represented on board level, from 50 to 80 per cent.

Board members are, however, selected according to knowledge, competence and experience – not by gender. Board members are expected to have deep knowledge in their field of business and experience from different operative roles, usually gained through leadership and management roles in that specific organization. Thus, the more women represented in an industry – the more women in leadership roles. Equality improves work welfare and advances productivity. (http://www.ek.fi/ek/fi/tyomarkkinat_ym/tyoelama/tasa_arvo/naiset_miehet/naisten_osuus_johtotehtavissa.php 20.10.2013).

As stated by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka on October 18th 2013 in New York, women´s leadership is central to peacebuilding. (http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/10/ed-speech-on-women-peace-security 20.10.2013).

UN Women is the leading organization promoting gender equality, women´s rights and women´s empowerment. Its Sustainable Development Goals addresses following three target areas of gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment:

–          Freedom from violence against women and girls

–          Gender equality in the distribution of capabilities – knowledge, good health, sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights of women and adolescent girls; and access to resources and opportunities, including land, decent work and equal pay to build women’s economic and social security.

–          Gender equality in decision-making power in public and private institutions, in national parliaments and local councils, the media and civil society, in the management and governance of firms, and in families and communities. (http://www.unwomen.org/~/link.aspx?_id=981A49DCB34B44F1A84238A1E02B6440&_z=z 20.10.2013.)

Violence, both physical and psychological, is the most comprehensive abuse of human rights, taking place in all countries globally. One third of all women worldwide have experienced either physical or psychological (or both) violence at some point in their lives.

“Violence against women and girls tend to increase at times of crisis and instability, notably during and after periods of upheaval and displacement associated with armed conflict and natural disasters, but also when people are dealing with uncertainty. There can be increased domestic violence when men are unemployed, even if (sometimes especially if) women are bringing in income. Insecurity that results from high levels of organized crime in societies may also be associated with increased levels of violence against women or higher rates of femicide. In some situations of armed conflict, violence against women is widespread and systematic – for instance, where forms of sexual violence such as rape, forced prostitution, or sex trafficking are used by armed groups as a tactic of warfare to terrorize or displace civilians or to benefit parties to the conflict”. (http://www.unwomen.org/~/media/Headquarters/Attachments/Sections/Library/Publications/2013/10/UN%20Women%20post-2015%20position%20paper%20pdf.pdf 20.10.2013).

More about these important issues in UN Women´s publication “A transformative stand-alone goal on achieving gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment: Imperatives and key components” (http://www.unwomen.org/~/link.aspx?_id=981A49DCB34B44F1A84238A1E02B6440&_z=z 20.10.2013).

What are your thoughts about female leadership and gender equality?

How are these issues dealt with in your country?

MBA Career Stories

MBA Career Stories

MBA Career Stories was written in co-operation by 33 MBA´s from around the world as a networking and marketing project, in order to develop intercultural communication. The purpose of the publication is to serve as a guidance to people who consider pursuing an MBA, and as a general career/life guide.

My story:

Anne-Maria Yritys, MBA

Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland

LinkedIn: fi.linkedin.com/in/annemariayritys

Twitter: @annemariayritys

Xing: https://www.xing.com/profiles/AnneMaria_Yritys

LinkedIn group:

http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Networkers-Without-Borders-4996536?trk=myg_ugrp_ovr

I graduated in 2012 from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, which is one of Finland´s leading business schools. The reason for selecting this program was because of the great opportunity to choose free elective courses from other universities. Personally, I also took some courses from Aalto University, and participated in overseas courses at San José State University, the capital city of Silicon Valley, California, USA, and the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The program was quite extensive, as I studied more free electives than necessary. Beside my MBA studies, I completed two investment courses/exams at Aalto University. The core program was pretty much standard, including courses in quantitative/qualitative research methods, project management, and talent management.

As free electives I chose to take quite many strategic management courses, a couple of change management courses, including business ethics and CSR. The course in Silicon Valley included international marketing, mass media, PR and communication, and innovation management. Quite a package in two and a half years, and I worked full-time throughout my studies in retail banking – it was an intense period.

Previous to the MBA I had been working in the hotel, restaurant and travel industries for a decade after my Bachelor´s Degree in Hospitality Management in 2001. In 2007, I changed careers into banking, and wanted to expand my knowledge from being an expert within hospitality, into learning more generally about international business management. I am satisfied about this decision, since this has given me more options and possibilities in business life.

I have until this day found the MBA useful in at least the following aspects:

–          Increased confidence and trust in my own capacity/knowledge

–          Improved networking skills

–          Improved presentation and public speaking skills

–          General increase of knowledge and knowledge creation

–          If knowledge is not directly available, I know how and where to find it

–           A strategic and holistic view upon business and life in general

–          A better understanding of the big picture of how society and different industries and businesses function

I was a fairly critical thinker already before the MBA, but today I am even more critical in terms of putting things into a perspective. The MBA also enhanced my analytical skills.

After graduation, I worked as an investment manager in a small, private investment firm for about a year. I noticed it wasn´t what I wanted in a longer-term, so I left the company.

At the moment I am working as a freelance business consultant, and I am available for (a) new assignment(s) and/or a permanent role e.g. within change and strategy consulting.

The MBA definitely opens up many new doors. The degree increased my appetite for continuous learning, development and improvement not only of myself as a person, but in how I see organizations and different business areas.

My advice for other MBA´s:

–          Work hard to reach your goals

–          Never give up

–          Believe in yourself

–          Be open for different options

–          Be innovative

–          If you are not ready to be an entrepreneur, become an intrapreneur

An MBA can pursue many kinds of careers in business life. Everything depends upon yourself, your motivations and areas of interest. You can start your own business, join a startup, advance your career in a medium-sized or large organization – whatever suits you best. The most important, however, is to remember to be a responsible leader/manager.

Take care of yourself mentally and physically, treat other people fairly, listen to people and be open for feedback. Know yourself and your values, and live according to them. Enjoy life – career is important, but it is not everything. Try to lead a stable life. If you notice something doesn´t seem or feel right – you can always change direction.

I also wanted to test the usefulness of LinkedIn as a networking tool, and how it would help me in finding business opportunities. This eBook project is one of the steps I have taken to progress my career.

I think it is beneficial to have a wide experience, but real professional progress requires determination and focus. Since the world changes with such a fast pace today, it is of course good to be open for continuous change. Today, careers are not necessarily linear, so basically it is useful to always have a plan B, perhaps even a plan C, in case the original plan doesn´t work out. With many decades of work life ahead of me, I want to continue making good decisions and keep on learning and developing throughout my life.