Aspire Artemis conducts ‘Future Leadership’ training at AIMU

Aspire Artemis conducts ‘Future Leadership’ training at AIMU

Aspire Artemis conducts ‘Future Leadership’ training at AIMU

Aspire Artemis is a 501 (c) 3 Foundation based in New York, USA.  It highlights the achievements of change makers as a catalyst for inspiring future leaders. The organization builds leadership capacity and teaches young people the skills they need to foster positive use of language that helps them utilize their voices in constructive and empowering ways while providing hands-on opportunities to career advancement.  They do this by providing solution-oriented growth opportunities that increase self-confidence, makes a social impact and enriches communities.  One of their aims is that of discovering leaders and empowering them to face future challenges. The Organization works with international organizations, the private sector, relevant government partners, civil society, and other world bodies to actualize this objective.

The foundation, as part of its activities for International Women’s Month, in collaboration and support from several ministries in Saint Lucia including the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, international organizations, civil society, local grassroots organizations, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders, held a Women’s Empowerment and Youth Development Summit which kicked off at the Ministry of Infrastructure Complex.

The activities which took place in March 2018 at the American International Medical University (AIMU) were held in Room 315 from 11.30am till the end of the school day. Part of the activity was a leadership game simulation entitled “The Enlighten Initiative” which was designed for one time use at the Summit in Saint Lucia by WORLD+® designs and facilitates highly innovative, immersive, experiential learning experiences for aspiring leaders and others.

The students of AIMU along with participants from NGOs, civil society, youth from the local community, and other relevant stakeholders, gathered to participate in several activities put on by the foundation. 

Participants were enthusiastic and curious about what was about to unfold.  It became clear early on in the game experience that everything was focused on learning leadership skills in a fun, innovative and interesting way.

The Participants from AIMU were both from the faculties of Medicine and Nursing.  A diverse group spanning numerous countries, continents, age ranges, and religious backgrounds participated in the leadership simulation. Apart from students and faculty of AIMU’s faculties of Nursing and Medicine, participants from the Community, Family, and Youth Resilience program (CYFR) and Rise Saint Lucia also engaged in the training activity. Importantly, this served as a “train the trainers” exercise so that the lessons learned would have a spillover effect in various communities.  Diverse facilitators have been empowered to share lessons about youth leadership and involvement.

At the end of the exercises, the detailed solutions and plans derived from the participants were astounding.  Their ability to think outside of the box and work together as a team made this simulation extremely beneficial to their learning and development.  Participants found that despite disagreements they had to work together.  Some got into very real arguments but worked together as a team to find innovative and creative solutions to complex global challenges. 

This type of problem solving, team-work and innovation can be utilized to re-channel the energies of youth away from violence and division towards collaboration and teamwork with a social impact. Students who often lose focus during normal classroom activities were incredibly engaged to the point that they did not want to leave the room neither during their lunch break nor at the end of the simulation.  In fact, they wanted to continue past the end of their regular school hours.

At the end of the exercises, there was a competition in which the most outstanding leader was voted on by every single participant in the simulation.  This was a mixed group of male and female students, as well as other youth and adults.

A winner emerged in the Person of Ms. Omotoyigbo Gbemileke Adenike of MD III via votes from her group members and other participants such as Faculty and facilitators. Finally, when the prize was awarded to the most outstanding participant, everyone had to agree the winner clearly demonstrated excellent leadership skills.

A scholarship was given to her as the winner to participate in a leadership training event in New York with all expenses paid.

Hermina Johnny, the organizer of the summit and Director of Strategy at the Aspire Artemis Foundation, said, “It’s fascinating to see such transformational learning from young people.  It highlighted that when given the tools and opportunities, youth can come up with innovative solutions to extremely complex situations and challenges.  These young people exhibited out of the box thinking, with detailed, time-bound and very practical solutions to a very real problem.  

Youth are often drivers of lasting and sustainable change.  I am very happy to have demonstrated, through this highly innovative WORLD+® leadership game simulation and other activities put on by the Artemis Foundation, the leaps of imagination and depth that young people are capable of.  The learning process was cross-generational.  As a change, adults were forced to sit back and observe while the youth came up with practical and realistic solutions.  I’m delighted by the potential of this form of leadership training and skills development and hope to continue working with universities to continue leadership development in this regard. I have to extend special thanks to the WORLD+®, The Government of Saint Lucia, the office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations, and Sustainable Development,and all of its partners who had a truly collaborative and integrated approach to International Women’s Day events on the Island. I would also like to give special thanks to UNICEF, UNWOMEN, and UNFPA for their support.

Overall the leadership game simulation focused on leadership skill building and development with a social impact. As we learned from the WORLD+® game preparation philosophy, Trainers had to be quiet listeners; they listened to allow empowerment, participation, and respect for other’s opinions. The focus was not on “Here’s what you need to do”, but rather “What do you think we need to do?”  This was a very innovative approach to leadership development, team building and skills training that we hope to repeat at AIMU in the future.  We hope to work more frequently with the Aspire Artemis Foundation in the near future to actualize our shared goals of student learning and development.